NASA, the big chief itself in matters of space exploration, has released a new update, on Thursday, in its official website. As an important asset of the EM-1 project, Orion gets silver coating. And no, it’s not the proverbial silver lining, although it has a nice ring to it.
Actually, as part of the project, scheduled to launch in 2018, the engineers working for NASA decided to give the Orion, a little extra something, in order to make the journey into space more comfortable. The spacecraft will therefore receive a silver thermal control coating and the insulation will also receive a nice finishing, in the form of a metallic-based paint layer.
The new layer of paint, as part of the new thermal shielding technology, will play a critical role in the spacecraft’s transition through space. Basically, it will maintain a steady temperature inside the craft, when travelling through space and will ensure that Orion won’t go out on a blaze once it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere.
Orion gets silver coating as part of the ongoing project to get a manned crew to Mars. As we said, the project is scheduled to launch on November 2018. The EM-1’s goal is to send an unmanned crew, using Orion, on a distant orbit around the moon, preparing for the future trip to Mars.
One of the researchers, working on the EM-1 project, explained why the silver coating is important. While the Orion is travelling through space, there will be large periods of time when the ship will be facing away from the Sun. The temperatures outside the ship will vary from -100 degrees Celsius to 290 degrees Celsius. But that’s only a small part of the issue.
NASA’s biggest concern is getting the ship back in one piece, after it has completed its mission. We were all bereft when we watched Columbia evaporate over the Pacific Ocean. Since then, NASA double-checked their thermal shielding and committed many resources to research in this area. When the ship is re-entering the atmosphere, the temperature outside the hull exceeds 4000 degrees Fahrenheit.
The new shielding technology will not be monolithic. That means NASA will drop the all-in one thermal layer and will choose to go with a modular one. Orion gets silver coating made up of approximately 180 individual module which will ensure both cohesion and thermal protection. Moreover, the modular thermal control shield will also be able to protect the manned crew against electrical discharges.
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