Towards Space-Ready Robotics: Advancing Manufacturing with Tardigrade-Inspired Biomimetic Materials

G. Govindarajan, S.S. Iyengar, Y. Hariprasad
Florida International University,
United States

Keywords: space exploration, tardigrades, biomimetic materials

Summary:

In the pursuit of cutting-edge manufacturing techniques for space exploration, scientists are looking towards the natural world for guidance, focusing on the designs inherent in nature. Tardigrades, tiny creatures known for their incredible toughness in harsh conditions, are at the forefront of this research. Although they are not materials, the remarkable survival strategies of tardigrades have drawn the attention of researchers who are interested in creating space exploration materials that can endure extreme circumstances. Tardigrades have the ability to survive in conditions of extreme cold and heat, withstand high levels of radiation, and even survive in the vacuum of space. These capabilities make them fascinating subjects for the development of biomimetic materials aimed at space missions. The goal is to replicate the structural and functional characteristics of tardigrades to engineer advanced materials that can cope with the severe conditions of space travel, such as extreme temperature fluctuations, cosmic radiation, and the absence of gravity. This Talk discusses the promise of materials inspired by the biology of tardigrades for advanced manufacturing in space exploration. By tapping into the survival traits and versatility of these microorganisms, researchers aim to craft materials that can improve the functionality, longevity, and safety of space vehicles and gear in the demanding conditions of outer space.