A joint development by NASA and ESA, the Solar Orbiter, a spacecraft for the study of the sun, launched last February, made its first approach to the star. In accordance with the mission program, he will approach the luminary every six months.
Such a dangerous journey was made possible thanks to a special coating made of crushed bones – SolarBlack. The fact is that bones are a powerful shield against destructive cosmic radiation.
The Solar Orbiter flying to the Sun is exposed to cosmic radiation, the level of which is 13 times higher than that of the Earth. To this must be added the extreme temperature at which the metal melts. In these conditions, special requirements are imposed on the coverage of the spacecraft.
SolarBlack was developed by the biotechnology company ENBIO, which previously dealt with synthetic bone coatings for dental implants. The problem was that normal bone coverings, when exposed to high temperatures, carbonize and change color, which affects the ship’s ability to absorb heat. As a result, NASA and ESA specialists came to the conclusion that it was necessary to “carbonize” the coating while still on Earth, in order to then control its thermal properties during the flight.
The mission program is designed for several years. All this time, the Solar Orbiter, thanks to its unique coating, will get closer and closer to the Sun. If the mission is successful, it is possible that such bone coverings will be actively used in the future.