Fly To Mars In A Plastic Ship

An old polymer may be the spaceship material of the future [podcast]. Polyethylene is in household garbage bags, and it is also an effective solar radiation shield. Polyethylene is used in the sleeping quarters on current orbiting space vehicles, but now NASA has developed a way to toughen the polymer into a product they call RXF1 which is even stronger and lighter than aluminum. Radiation in space is currently a major obstacle to manned missions outside of the Earth’s magnetic field, so better radiation shielding is essential to planned manned missions to Mars and beyond

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