It's In Material

Image of a spider and a spiderweb
New constructs in construction stuff.

Astronauts are made of the “right stuff,” but what about their spacesuits? NASA’s pressurized and helmeted onesies are remarkable, but they need updating if we’re to boldly go into deep space. Suiting up on Mars requires more manual flexibility, for example. Find out what innovative materials might be used to reboot the suit.

Meanwhile, strange new materials are in the pipeline for use on terra firma: spider silk is kicking off the development of biological materials that are inspiring ultra-strong, economical, and entirely new fabrics. And, while flesh-eating bacteria may seem like an unlikely ally in materials science, your doctor might reach for them one day. The bacterium’s proteins are the inspiration for a medical molecular superglue.

Plus, an overview of more innovative materials to come, from those that are 3D printed to self-healing concrete.


Segments (via
Part 1: Nicole Stott / Reboot the Suit​
Part 2: Dava Newman / Suit Rebooted​
Part 3: Andrew Dent / Arachnitecture
Part 4: Mark Howarth / Bacterial Superglue​
Part 5: Mark Miodownik / Future Materials​

originally aired October 2, 2017

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