100 Nano-Stories: Prepare Launch 2.0! 🚀

Episode #01: Intro to Space Technologies + Nanotechnologies!

Photo by New Scientist

Preface

Carlos, you returned! Is this the start of your new journey in Nanotechnology?

Yes, reader! I will be commencing a new path to complete my idea that I had left off in a previous article! But let’s jump right into today’s topic, and that is -

Wait, Carlos! I am new to your articles, so can you put your article here for me to catch up on your progress? It sounds so interesting, though!

Of course! Here is my idea article that I was talking about, dear reader!

Thank you, Carlos! You’re a real life saver!

No problem! I would highly recommend you read this article if you are new to the series on Nanotechnology! If you are a returning reader, then let’s move on to today’s article!

Uh, Carlos, I have a question for you… and that is…

What The Hell Is Nanotechnology?

In a sentence, nanotechnology is the technology of the small.

Okay… that is not really helping, Carlos. Plus, it only works if you are Steve Jobs.

Yeah, you’re right hahaha. But this the problem when I want to explain nanotechnology to someone. Here, I have a question for you, reader: What is the first thing you think when I say the word “technology”?

A computer, or a hacker!

This is where introducing technology might fail. Technology is partially a different field of its own, but what technology really does is supplement our advancements in scientific discovery & knowledge for a vast range of real-world applications.

Now, I can define Nanotechnology for you, reader. Nanotechnology is any object that is observed/manufactured and ranges between 1nm-100nm in size. 1 nanometer is essentially 1 billionth of a meter, but if you are having trouble picturing that, 1 nanometer is smaller than the period ending this sentence.

Woah! That is such a small distance!

Sounds like you got the idea of what nanotechnology is! So, when you are working with something that is 3 times smaller than the width of DNA!

But Carlos isn't Nanotechnology only used in medicine & healthcare? And by the way…

Why Nanotechnology & Space Technologies?

While Nanotechnology will disrupt Healthcare without question, there are no repercussions for using Nanotechnology with Space Technologies. But if you want a good reason for using Nanotechnology, maybe this photo might concern you a little bit.

Photo by Quartz

Oh, Jesus Christ! What happened here!?

That's what happens when a piece of space debris in Geo-Stationary Orbit moving at 20 km/s hits the window of Space Shuttle Challenger STS-7. My goal is to apply Nanotechnology to enhance spacecrafts and to eliminate space junk by extracting K-40 from our body and use the positrons as a tool to get rid of the micro-debris that causes these broken windows on Space Shuttles.

Okay, now I can see how that can work! But are there some cool applications of this right now, Carlos? It sounds unique!

Well, there are so many options, and so little time, so I’ll tell you what: I will talk about two applications of Nanotechnology here in this article, and if you want more applications of Nanotechnology, comment in the article, and I can create one just for you!

Perfect! Now, let’s hear your topics, Carlos!

Nanorobotics

Futuristic Nanobot. Photo by Wix.com

Woah! What is that thing, Carlos?

It’s a nanobot. A nanobot is simply a robot but on the scale of a nanometer.

You mean those tiny bots that will disrupt the healthcare industry, Carlos?

Well… sort of. The hype around nanobots is mostly centered around healthcare, repairing DNA, treating cancer, etc. However, this field is really new, so there is a lot of gaps to fill in for this application of Nanotechnology to be possible, reader. Secondly, it just doesn’t have to be repairing. What if we wanted to extract certain substances from our body for higher applications using nanotechnology?

Hmmm… sounds suspicious, but okay.🤔

What I meant by that is if we wanted to extract, let’s say, K-40 from our body tissues and use it as a resource/application to eliminate the micro-debris permanently from outer space!

But isn't that dangerous, Carlos?

Affirmative. Nanobots are still being developed, so this is more of a long-term project that could take decades before it can be a consumer-bought product/medication.

Radiation Protection

Boron Nitride Nanotubes. Photo by Goodfellow-Ceramics

Hey, Carlos, what is that? It looks shiny!

This is what is known as a Boron Nitride Nanotube. Boron is the 5th element in The Periodic Table of Elements, and it can be used for a variety of applications because it is a non-metallic element. Some of these applications range from the semiconductor industries as a dopant to form light materials for space travel.

But I though you were going to talk about radiation!

I know, but let me talk briefly about what types of radiation we could encounter!

  • Van Allen Radiation is emitted from Earth and acts as high energy magnetic fields that have originated from solar winds that are held by Earth’s magnetic field, and they are somewhat lethal to us, but not as much as the next two types of radiation we could encounter in outer space.
  • Solar Particle Events/Solar Storms are some abnormal events that can act as an electromagnetic pulse. These electromagnetic pulses can disturb Earth’s electric systems and can cause cancer to humans when in outer space.
  • Galactic Cosmic Rays are mostly just protons and other subatomic particles that are released in supernovas that can travel from 40%-96% the speed of light!
  • Free Radicals/Hydroxyl Ions are uncharged particles with an unpaired electron, thus making these particles positively charged ions, making them highly reactive with anything that it encounters. If you go into outer space, these hydroxyl ions can enter your body and look for an unpaired electron, and that can knock off DNA strands, cause mutations, increase your cancer risk, etc.

That is unreal, Carlos! So is this why you brought up the boron nitrate nanotubes? This can help potentially help us mitigate the risk of radiation?

Yes! Specifically, we can use an isotope known as Boron-10, and boron nitrate nanotubes are isotopically enriched. This means that the boron nitride has a higher concentration of the isotope Boron-10!

Uh, Carlos, what does iostopically eniched mean?

Sorry, I forgot about the terms! So, isotopically enriched means that we have an abundance of a certain isotope, and what we do is alter the isotope so that one isotope is essentially enriched, while the other isotopes of a certain element are in minuscule amounts or no longer abundant.

Basically, only one element, or isotope can remain?

Yup! For this example, you can apply that frame of thinking!

Carlos, I have to go soon, but it was great hearing your ideas on Nanotechnology and its potential applications! Also, can you tell me what you have in mind for your Nanotechnology Idea?

You know, as much as I want to talk about my idea… I’m just going to end it here with this:

What makes you think I haven’t already told you? 😉

What the hell does THAT mean, Carlos?

TL;DR

  • Nanotechnology is a vast application ranging from medicine to space technologies
  • Nanobots are a new field of discovery and innovation, so the future for nanobots would most likely be for medical purposes and potential “futuristic” applications that don’t exist right now!
  • Radiation Shielding is something that has already been applied to nanotechnology, and can be used in more applications than just for outer space!

Connect: 🔗

LinkedIn

Twitter

cjarquin0005@gmail.com

© 2021 by Carlos Manuel Jarquin Sanchez. All Rights Reserved.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store