Costa Rican beetle heading to the International Space Station

In an effort to find new and better ways to protect space equipment from deep-space elements, scientists have turned to Earth’s bugs for inspiration, specifically the eye-catching jewel scarab native to Costa Rica.

Costa Rica beetle, (Chrysina aurigans).

Costa Rica beetle, (Chrysina aurigans). Image by Brett Forsyth / CC BY 2.0

Since 2010, scientists at the University of Costa Rica have been researching the metallic exoskeleton of the jewel scarab in hopes that properties of the beetle’s wings might help engineers develop an improved coating for satellites, and the first specimen will be blasting into space very soon. A team of researches is currently working on a nanolab for the experiment that will be transported to the ISS; during the month-long 'mission,' scientists will study how the shell behaves in space and determine if properties can be isolated to create useful, biodegradable space materials.

Read more: ticotimes.net

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