Here is news of a breakthrough research on nano-spacecrafts – an article titled ‘Sustainable nano-spacecraft explored by researchers’ featured on techxplore.com that we thought would be good to share with you.
So, self-healing chips? Healing after radiation damage? This ability would provide major success in interstellar travel and spacecraft according to reports. Scientists at NASA and the Korean Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have been developing these new technologies and the breakthrough was announced during the International Electron Devices Meeting in San Francisco.
Neel Patel of Inverse ambitions to create chip-sized spacecrafts that “could be shot off into space at ultra-high speeds and reach neighbouring star systems within a generation’s time.” He also explains that out of five interstellar probes – Voyager 1 and 2, Pioneer 10 and 11, and New Horizons – only Voyager 1 made it to interstellar space, so making it is not easy.
Contributing Editor Richard Stevenson, IEEE Spectrum, said, “If a silicon chip were used as a spacecraft, calculations suggest that it could travel at one-fifth of the speed of light and reach the nearest stars in just 20 years. That’s one hundred times faster than a conventional spacecraft can offer.”
However, deep space is riddled with intense bouts of radiation emanating from other stars and planets, as well as rapid swings in temperature.
For an ordinary silicon chip, 20 years in space is too long, bombarded by radiation of very high energy. So the researchers’ idea involved letting the devices suffer damage but then adding an extra contact to the transistors—using this contact to heal the devices with heating.
Patel said, “the research team points to experiments that show radiation-damaged flash memory can be recovered up to 10,000 times over through heating, and DRAM can be recovered almost a trillion times. This is critical for an interstellar mission that could span for several decades.”
Their research is discussed in the paper, “Sustainable Electronics for Nano-Spacecraft in Deep Space Missions.”
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