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Ep. 23, Page 33
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Comic 1764 - Ep. 23, Page 33

29th Nov 2014, 2:27 AM in Episode 23 :: Save My Place | Load My Place
Average Rating: 5 (1 votes)

Author Notes:

smbhax 29th Nov 2014, 2:27 AM edit delete
Woo Supermassive Black Hole Friday! You know, I always figured Selenis' space suits had some way to stick to the outer hulls of spacecraft and as far as I thought it through I thought maybe it would be electromagnets or something, although that would require the outer hulls to be ferromagnetic, which seems pretty unlikely to be the case always. Anyway maybe there's a better way...via geckos! Or so US military research group DARPA is hoping, as, according to this BBC article, they're funding research into climbing pads that utilize the Van der Waals force to stick to things like geckos do. Actually "the sum of the attractive or repulsive forces between molecules," the Van der Waals force, as it is called, is "very weak," but "the effect is multiplied across the many tiny hairs that cover the toes of a gecko, allowing them to stick firmly to surfaces," and in a DARPA-funded Stanford test, "the Stanford team created tiny tiles called microwedges to harness van der Waals forces. They were able to produce a dry adhesive even more efficient than that of the gecko," which was demonstrated by a human climber climbing a glass wall by means of microwedge-coated pads.

Something like that could have come in handy for Selenis just recently here, in her dash out of the salvage room just before the life support module blew up: in low gravity as we have here on this icy little moon, it would be really hard to launch into a mostly horizontal flying leap with any kind of velocity to it—since you're pushing off the floor, you'd tend to fly up at least as much as across—UNLESS maybe you were able to cling to the floor just a bit as you pushed off, maybe even getting a hand down for additional directional effect. Hm, I wonder if geckos have been tested in low gravity...

Ah, well, although a Russian-based test of five geckos in space earlier this year to test the effect of microgravity on their mating habits resulted in five frozen geckos after the satellite they were on experienced a widely publicized loss of control, there were three geckos-in-space tests prior to that, going back to 2005, basically to see if vertebrates can a) survive and b) reproduce in space; up until the latest test they had, at least survived. But they haven't been testing their adhesive/locomotive powers, per se.


moizmad 30th Nov 2014, 11:27 AM edit delete reply
There was something here but I kinda blew it up!
smbhax 1st Dec 2014, 10:42 PM edit delete reply
: D