Nature's Solutions to Space Insulation

by Scott Cary, US Air Force Acad, United States,
Mike Kirchoff, US Air Force Acad, United States,
Mike Platt, US Air Force Acad, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space


Humans working or living in the harsh environment in space must be protected from temperature extremes. Any effective insulating system must be able to withstand a wide range of temperatures. In addition, it must work in a zero gravity, low pressure environment. This paper investigates whether plant and animal solutions to similar problems on earth - solutions such as honeycomb design and trapped air pockets - can be adapted to the space environment. One such problem is insulation in the space environment. By starting with nature's examples, such as the insulative quality of trapped air in hair, and applying it to our needs and resources, we will be able to develop a cost efficient, effective insulation for the space environment.

Subject Headings: Building insulation | Temperature effects | Human and behavioral factors | Space exploration | Space colonies | Air quality | Synthetic materials

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