Science blows sci-fi out of the water with proposed Nano-Suits

Credit: Star Trek: Into Darkness / Paramount Pictures

When Star Trek rebooted in 2009, the world was treated to a whole host of reimagined sci-fi tech, including a much-featured sleek spacesuit which looks to make a comeback in Star Trek Into Darkness next month. And we here at DVICE couldn't be more excited.

But that sleek Starfleet space suit just might look clunky and ridiculously outdated by the time we actually reach the year 2258. That's due to a mind-boggling new discovery made at Japan's Hamamatsu University School of Medicine.

There, a team of scientists led by Takahiko Hariyama have pioneered a new procedure which just might lead to the creation of spacesuits which are only 50 to 100 billionths of a meter thick. That's basically the same as wearing nothing at all.

As with many scientific discoveries, human Nano-Suits weren't actually the end goal of the Hamamatsu University team. Instead, they were trying to find a way to snap scanning electron microscope images of mosquito larvae without killing their test subjects. And since scanning electron microscopes need to function in a vacuum to work, the team deduced that they would need to somehow protect the tiny larvae from that vacuum.

So they invented tiny, electron-based spacesuits for them. The crazy-awesome solution worked so well that the spacesuits held up under even more trying conditions than a simple vacuum.

"Even if we touched the surface, the [Nano-Suit] did not break by our mechanical touch. It was almost like a miniature spacesuit," said Hariyama.

And so the future of space-faring garments was discovered. The Nano-Suit encapsuled larvae were also found to withstand a chemical bath for up to 30 minutes before their suits failed. While human-sized Nano-Suits are still quite a way off, so is the year 2258. We've got plenty of time to surpass sci-fi's wildest dreams, and with these Nano-Suits we're one step closer to boldly going where no one has gone before — in style.

ScienceNOW, via Gizmodo

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