Extreme Condition Engineering
Date: Spring 2014
The environment beyond the exosphere experiences extreme conditions. These include vacuum and extremely colds temperatures. How do mechanical, electrical, and materials engineers modify vehicles that much enter this environment so that they can withstand these conditions?
Your's is a large question because there are many issues --- consequently many answers. Over the lifetime of space travel, scientists (engineers, chemists, physicist, and others) have tested the behavior of materials, first with experiments on the ground, then in ?outer space?. These experiments have resulted in a ?library? of experimental data to build upon. But this only a "lead". Individual materials must be engineered or invented for each particular application.
That their efforts have been so successful is astounding, but not 100%. Unfortunately those few errors have had disastrous outcomes.
No one said space travel is not hazard.
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Update: November 2011