A “ah-ha” moment leads to a shapeshifter chainmail

What is chain mail and coffee grounds have in common?

The answer could lead to a bionic exoskeleton for humans. This innovative idea is the subject of our lead story for this Monday August 23, 2021. Keep scrolling to find out more.

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Resembling a weighted crochet blanket when “flowing”, this material is capable of lifting 50 times its own weight if given the opportunity.Wang et al. / Nature

Shapeshifter armor and bionic exoskeletons – Sarah wells reports that Caltech engineers used 3D printing to design a new type of chain mail that can change shape under vacuum and support more than 50 times its own weight:

It was the kind of ah-ha moment scientists only dream of when Chiara Daraio, professor of mechanical engineering and applied physics at Caltech, realized that her lab’s work on so-called “granular materials” – like rice or coffee beans – can impact old connection too.

“This project was born from the observation that the rings of a chain mail are, from a material point of view, very similar to coffee beans”, she explains. “They can also be stuck, under the right conditions (like vacuum packaging).”

Read the full story.

More innovation writing:

An illustration of Phaeton doing his job. NASA / JPL-Caltech / IPAC

A strange asteroid and a glorious meteor shower Erika K. Clarson reports that the dust grains that cause the annual Geminid meteor shower likely originate from this asteroid. Still, scientists don’t know how the asteroid ejected the grains:

Each year in December, meteors cross the sky as part of the gigantic Geminid meteor shower, with up to 120 meteors visible per hour during the heaviest rain.

This reliable annual spectacle is a popular spectacle for astronomers, but the origin of the Geminids is shrouded in a bit of mystery.

Meteor showers like the Perseids, which appear every year in August, occur when Earth passes through a cloud of dust in its orbit left by a passing comet. The grains of dust picked up by the pull of the Earth’s atmosphere burn off, causing the brilliant streaks that we call meteors, or “shooting stars”.

Read the full story.

Hello, asteroid geek friends:

Inspiration4 Mission Commander Jared Isaacman, Founder and CEO of Shift4 Payments, portrays a portrait in front of the first stage recovered from a Falcon 9 rocket at SpaceX in California.PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP / Getty Images

How Netflix and SpaceX are about to open spaceflight Mike Brown and Ashley bardhan report on the Inspriation4 mission, the first of its kind in history. The mission also marks a milestone for the company of CEO Elon Musk, who one day hopes to help humans live across the galaxy:

SpaceX’s Inspiration4 mission, scheduled to take off on September 15, could change spaceflight forever.

The all-civilian mission is not only the first of its kind in history. It also marks a milestone for Musk’s company, which one day hopes to help humans live across the galaxy.

This is a huge, more sci-fi goal, but the pioneering team at Inspiration4 might help the general public believe it. And a Netflix documentary certainly doesn’t hurt.

Read the full story.

How we got here:

Sea snakes attack divers – Jenn Walter created a dynamic card story that tells the tale of the Olive Sea Serpent, which sometimes charges divers uninvited. But analysis of the data shows that this is likely misdirected courtship behavior:

All attacks took place between May and August, during the mating season.

Most of the snakes that approached divers were males, although sometimes female snakes did too.

Read the full story.

Go further (pun intended entirely):

That’s all for this Monday. Take care of yourself and others.

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