Ever since mankind started exploring outer space and landed on the moon in 1969, there has been an endless demand for new spacesuits that can offer more protection and better mobility for space explorers. It comes as the temperature is very different in space, as compared to what we have here on earth. This is why for years, NASA and different sectors of the science community have been trying to produce the best spacesuit for astronauts.
Scientists have been experimenting with different materials for the past decade—and soon, astronauts may be wearing spacesuits lined with Philippine abaca. This comes after a science team from De La Salle University (DLSU) completes its research project.
The project is entitled “Fabrication and Characterization of Hydrophobic Nanocomposite Plated Abaca Fabric for the Enhanced Electromagnetic Interference Shielding (EMI-SE) and Thermal Resistance (TR) for Spacesuits Application.”It is spearheaded by De La Salle University’s I-Nano Solutions—a research facility known for developing nanotech products and services for both industry and society—along with the Technological University of the Philippines, FEATI University, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute, and the Philippine Textile Research Institute.
The project seeks to produce a less expensive but competitive thermo-mechanical garment out of Abaca fibers, coated by nanocomposite material to protect astronauts from electromagnetic waves and extreme temperature changes in space.
For space monkeys
Aside from the DLSU, other Philippine universities are also conducting different research and space projects. As a matter of fact, the University of the Philippines (UP) ULyS3ES is now being considered as the new home for Filipino space scientists, engineers, and technology research. The university also collaborated with DOST—which has resulted in the first Philippine-made microsatellites, the Diwata 1 and Diwata 2—and now offers Nanosatellite space technology scholarships to students.