Scientists to Use Prehistoric Cave Pigment to Develop Protection for ESA's Solar Probe from Sun's glare

Scientists to Use Prehistoric Cave Pigment to Develop Protection for ESA's Solar

Burnt bone charcoal pigment was once daubed onto prehistoric cave paintings. It will now be used to protect ESA's Solar Orbiter mission from the Sun's close-up glare. It will be applied to the spacecraft's titanium heat shield with the help of a brand new technique.

Launch of Solar Orbiter is slated to take place in 2017. The mission is aimed at capturing high-resolution imaging of the sun from as close as 42 million km, which is a little more than 25% of the distance to earth.

The orbiter will perform the tasks with the help of a portfolio of instruments. Pierre Olivier, Solar Orbiter's safety engineer, said there will be a multi-layered heat shield of 3.1m by 2.4m to provide cover to the main body of the spacecraft.

Irish company Enbio and its CoBlast technique originally developed the technique to coat titanium medical implants. Researchers found that the technique could be highly effective in providing the much needed cover shield to the ESA's Solar Orbiter mission to prevent from the sun's close-up glare.

The process serves the purpose for reactive metals like titanium, aluminum and stainless steel. These metals posses a surface oxide layer. Materials technology specialist Andrew Norman said that the color of the shield cannot change despite years of extreme exposure to the sun. And if the color changes the heat-absorption properties will also change.

"To go on absorbing sunlight, then convert it into infrared to radiate back out to space, its surface material needs to maintain constant 'thermo-optical properties' keep the same color despite years of exposure to extreme ultraviolet radiation", said Andrew Norman.

In order to avoid the risk of contaminating Solar Orbiter's highly sensitive instruments, the shield will not shed material or outgas vapors.


FrenchTribune Specials

Research to study perception of insects as food in Australia

A group of researchers are planning to conduct a research study into the perception of insects as food among consumers in Australia.

The team from the University of Adelaide is aiming to study consumer perceptions and attitudes to eating insects. The researchers are planning to begin the study with an online consumer survey at the...

Most Popular

Scientists name jellyfish	after schoolboy

Scientists in Australia have chosen to honour the...

Number of Seabirds declined since 1950, study

According to a new global study, the populations of...

Airbus Group Shares Drop 3.8% to 61 Euros

Shares of Airbus Group on Monday dropped after the crash...

Study shows air pollution claimed 9,500 lives in London

According to a new study, air pollution claimed the...

Poll

Can Greece Come out of Economic Problems: