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Science

Nano-Suit Protects Bugs From Vacuums 75

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the might-feel-a-slight-tingle dept.
sciencehabit writes "Put a fruit fly larva in a spacelike vacuum, and the results aren't pretty. Within a matter of minutes, the animal will collapse into a crinkled, lifeless husk. Now, researchers have found a way to protect the bugs: Bombard them with electrons, which form a 'nano-suit' around their bodies. The advance could help scientists take high-resolution photographs of tiny living organisms. It also suggests a new way that creatures could survive the harsh conditions of outer space and may even lead to new space travel technology for humans." Work is also being done on electron "suits" that protect against radiation.
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Nano-Suit Protects Bugs From Vacuums

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  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex@nOs ... t-retrograde.com> on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @03:24AM (#43469971)

    Read tittle, imagined tiny insect Gundam warriors battling the ferocious Gigga Vacuum cleaners. Can't bring myself to read the submission and destroy this newfound fun.

  • Spacelike vacuum? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mjlner (609829) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @03:28AM (#43469985) Journal

    What exactly is a "spacelike vacuum"? Is it different from other vacuums? Are there vacuums that are unlike space?

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      It's a vacuum like you have in space. As opposed to a vacuum like you have when hoovering the carpet.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @03:35AM (#43470007)

      Inside Dyson spheres.

      • by qzzpjs (1224510)

        I have a Dyson Ball vacuum... Does that count as a sphere? Though, I must admit that if I had any fruit flies in my vacuum, I'd probably throw them out instead of take pictures of them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There are two types of vacuums. Spacelike vacuums and timelike vacuums. A closed timelike vacuum is one where cause and effect have meaning - ie, one in which time flies like an arrow. In a spacelike vacuum, fruit flies like a banana.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      Scientists distinguish between different levels of vacuum, but I assume in this case they are just reminding the reader that space is a vacuum.

    • Re:Spacelike vacuum? (Score:5, Informative)

      by khallow (566160) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @05:13AM (#43470327)

      What exactly is a "spacelike vacuum"? Is it different from other vacuums? Are there vacuums that are unlike space?

      Well, there are levels of vacuum [wikipedia.org] graded by orders of magnitude drop from one atmosphere, according to Wikipedia. But "spacelike" isn't one of them since pressures in space can vary by about eleven orders of magnitude (ignoring here that the transition to "space" from a planetary or stellar atmosphere is arbitrary).

      I imagine what they mean is that they were using pressures down to the range seen in low Earth orbit.

      • Well, there are levels of vacuum [wikipedia.org] graded by orders of magnitude drop from one atmosphere, according to Wikipedia. But "spacelike" isn't one of them

        Actually, you didn't read the article all through. Please read the section about Vacuums in general relativity [wikipedia.org]...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cashdot (954651)

        I imagine what they mean is that they were using pressures down to the range seen in low Earth orbit.

        I agree with that. In low Earth orbit the vacuum is about 10 * (-6) Torr.
        This is also the pressure you can achieve here on earth by relatively simple means using a turbomolecular pump [wikipedia.org]

        OTOH, it is also possible to produce "interstellar" vacuum in a labratory, but i'm pretty sure they would have mentioned this extra effort.

      • What exactly is a "spacelike vacuum"? Is it different from other vacuums? Are there vacuums that are unlike space?

        Well, there are levels of vacuum [wikipedia.org] graded by orders of magnitude drop from one atmosphere, according to Wikipedia. But "spacelike" isn't one of them ...

        Unless they mean (second to last table entry on the Wikipedia page you referenced):

        • Outer space: 1×106 to <3×1017: 1×104 to <3×10-15

        Perhaps "Outer space" is sufficiently "spacelike" for their purposes. :-)

    • What exactly is a "spacelike vacuum"? Is it different from other vacuums? Are there vacuums that are unlike space?

      I suppose the other vacuum is the dreaded timelike vacuum. That must be the vacuum in the vicinity of a singularity.

    • by Xacid (560407)

      Sans gravity perhaps?

    • by spxZA (996757)
      A space-like vacuum is one that is not as big as space.
  • by MassiveForces (991813) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @03:54AM (#43470083)
    So what you're saying is, fry them a little to seal in the juicy goodness?
    • (frying/searing doesn't actually do that)
      • So what you're saying is, fry them a little to seal in the juicy goodness?

        (frying/searing doesn't actually do that)

        Thank you Alton Brown.

        • Pretty much. I've heard/read it elsewhere, too. And I agree, personally, with him, from personal experience. And yes, it DOES taste good when you sear it, it's called caramelization ... :D
          • Pretty much. I've heard/read it elsewhere, too. And I agree, personally, with him, from personal experience. And yes, it DOES taste good when you sear it, it's called caramelization ... :D

            Technically, it's the Maillard reaction [wikipedia.org]

  • by dohzer (867770) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @04:38AM (#43470215) Homepage

    Let's fire off fruit-flies in every direction in space and watch every other planet's agriculture industry crumble!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I for one welcome our electron suited fruit fly larvae overlords

  • Me, I got the Sears Craftsman Shop Vac and vacuumed up all the Box Elders bugs I could find.
  • by bigmo (181402) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @06:59AM (#43470699)

    to force field space suits like the Flickinger Field, from Jack McDevitts' Deep Six series.

  • welcome our electron-bombarded-protected overlords!

  • Bed Bugs (Score:4, Funny)

    by khr (708262) <kevinrubin@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @08:18AM (#43471051) Homepage

    No wonder we keep getting bit by bedbugs, even after we vacuum the apartment... I'll bet the bedbug section of the NYC subway trains has little bedbug sized ads for nano-suits, matching the human sized ads for mattress covers.

  • by youn (1516637) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @08:21AM (#43471071) Homepage

    now bugs can go on a spacewalk... tiny step for a bug, but huge step for bug-kind :p

  • ...scientists discover how to make fruit fly larvae develop Maximum Armor, Maximum Strength, and Invisibility Cloak powers, just not all at the same time.

  • little insects which can survive space and radiation, almost sounds like the making of a sci-fi horror flick as they mutant into space monsters! :)
  • Insects don't need to go into space. They don't need to survive a vacuum. They die in a vacuum for a reason. This will only lead to bugs on spacecraft, which will be a nuisance, or even dangerous.

    When humans colonize other planets, there is no need to bring bugs with us. That will just be another planet for them to infest.

    If bugs want to go into space, let them develop their own space suits, but got god's sake, DON'T DO IT FOR THEM!
  • Also lots of problems with DX11 implementation.
  • The British feel the need to pluralize everything.

    I am pretty sure you can only have one kind of vacuum, so it is redundant to use vacuums.

    Unless this story is about protecting bugs from Hoovers and Dysons.

  • Gross! (Score:4, Funny)

    by nanospook (521118) on Wednesday April 17, 2013 @03:09PM (#43475541)
    so the human spacesuit of the future will be a thick coating of fruit flies dipped in honey while the mother ship sprays you with electrons? I'm not sure where to invest my stock money at this point! Electrons?

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