Re-Entry Into Earth’s Atmosphere Just Got a Lot Safer Thanks to Anime
Only Newtypes saw this one coming — a research team from the University of Tokyo has engineered a new way for spacecraft to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
According to Asahi.com, this safer method was inspired by the popular anime “Mobile Suit Z Gundam“, a Japanese cartoon that features giant robot battles in space.
In the series, a hemispherical mechanism called a “ballute” was utilized to carry the mobile suit (giant robot for those not familiar with the series) through the atmosphere.
The researchers decided to conduct an experiment with this device in their tests to see if such a concept could become a reality for space travel.
Choosing a micro-satellite named EGG for the project, the device was attached to EGG to see if they could replicate the results from the anime.
Their findings concluded that the ballute did indeed slow down the satellite, deploying a heat-shielding aeroshell to act as a protective parachute and allowing EGG to glide safely back to Earth.
If implemented, the method could lead to reduced heat-associated re-entry risks and potentially save lives and money in the process.
“The EGG would be useful for bringing samples from space as well as exploring atmospheric planets such as Mars,” stated Kojiro Suzuki, team member and University of Tokyo professor of aerospace engineering.