Technology NASA is looking for volunteers who will solve a very unusual task

18:46  28 july  2017
18:46  28 july  2017 Source:   businessinsider.de

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The US space agency Nasa is taking unusual approaches to developing radiation shields. With the help of crowdsourcing, she wants to develop origami-inspired, foldable radiation protection shields with which spaceships and astronauts are to be protected while traveling into the depths of space. From July 26, design proposals can be submitted via the Freelancer.com website.

"The theory is that there are a lot of people who have experience in folding techniques and origami, and Nasa wants to find an efficient way to pack a radiation shield," said Freelancer founder and CEO Matt Barrie. "The assumption is that hopefully the ideas of millions of people will find unexpected solutions to problems that NASA does not come up with internally."

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Origami as a natural model

Cosmic and solar radiation can cause great damage to materials and people. Radiation protection shields are used to prevent radiation from causing short circuits in electronics or cancer in astronauts. The problem, however, is that the aluminum shields take up a lot of space. It is expensive and could also be used for instruments or people.

Barrie says: "NASA wants something that is packaged sufficiently compactly and can be folded when you land on a planet and that offers maximum protection against radiation."

For origami expert and former NASA physicist Robert J It is not surprising that Nasa is looking for inspiration in this art form: "Origami is a natural form of transport into space, Nasa has been working with origami artists for years." In the past, Nasa already developed one of origami inspired foldable radiator .

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Crowdsourcing can overcome the limits of computers

The founder of crowdsourcing is IT professor Luis von Ahn . With projects such as ReCaptcha, which digitizes old books, or Duolingo, a platform on which users learn languages ​​and at the same time translate website fragments, he established crowdsourcing as a way of using swarm intelligence in places where computers do not achieve the desired results can be.


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