It’s a staple of SF: something punctures the hull of a spacecraft and crew members, alerted by the hiss of escaping air, scramble to plug up the leak.
Just one problem: in real space, no one can hear the hiss of escaping air, because it’s venting out into vacuum. And real spacecraft, unlike their fictional counterparts, seldom have nice smooth unblemished hulls where holes can be easily located: instead, every square inch is jammed with equipment. Which is why a research team from Iowa has developed a square sensor just an inch across that provides a computer with enough information to locate a leak in about a minute–as opposed to weeks with NASA’s current handheld devices. (Via ScienceDaily.)
Just the thing for long trips to Mars–and space junk-filled near-Earth orbits, too. (Photo from NASA via Science Daily.)
[tags]space travel, NASA, space junk, technology[/tags]