Secrets of ancient pottery may help build better spacecraft tiles

The study of the chemical and physical properties of ancient Attic pottery would help improve space missions, believe scientists.

Considering it importance, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded nearly 500,000 dollars to scientists from the Getty Conservation Institute, Stanford’s National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC) and the Aerospace Corporation earlier this year to study the secrets of Attic pottery.

via Secrets of ancient pottery may help build better spacecraft tiles.

Roamy? What say you? (Feel free to unleash your inner nerd)

4 thoughts on “Secrets of ancient pottery may help build better spacecraft tiles”

  1. Did ancient astronauts hold the secrets of better ceramics? You make the call.

    Anyway, while they’re doing that, maybe they can try to figure out the Roman recipe for concrete. Whatever materials and process they used, many Roman walls and roads have held up to the elements astonishingly well. I forget the details, but I recall some discussion of possibly microscopic air particles that apparently let the structures endure the freeze-thaw cycle better than modern stuff.

  2. Color me skeptical on a use for space. I’m sure they looked at all the refractory ceramics during the development of the Shuttle tiles, and you’re not going to use tile on a one-shot spacecraft anyway. I wonder why they picked Sojourner as an example – it used aerogel for thermal protection. The current Mars rover mission, Curiosity, has an ablative shield.

    I found at http://news.discovery.com/space/slac-analysis-of-attic-pottery-could-improve-space-shuttle-tiles-111230.html

    The researchers involved in the Getty project are using a technique called x-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) — a type of spectroscopy — to determine the states of iron oxidation in pottery fragments, combined with x-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) to glean more information about the molecular structure of the iron minerals used. From this, it is hoped they can identify telltale material “signatures” of the specific artists who created certain pottery fragments. This can shed light on how the techniques used might have changed and evolved over time, and help with classifying unsigned works.

    Now that, I can understand, and it would make sense for conservation.

    1. I would be willing to bet that there are people listening over at Coast to Coast AM, who know exactly how the ancient astronauts used the ceramiv tiles.

  3. Are there any leftover or surveyed tiles from any of the Orbiters? We need a need backsplash.

    Seriously tho, I’d pay to have a used shuttle tile and I know a boatload of them were replaced thru the years, I wonder what happened to them?

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