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Thread: Nanotechnology and enviroment?

  1. #1
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    Nanotechnology and enviroment?

    Should nanotechnology be developed for a particular application, does the enviroment they would be used in have to be taken into account?

    Would something like an accustical sensor for inside the body have to designed differently for one used outside the body?

    I wasn't thinking of any particular application of nanotechnology, but it occured to me that something created for earthly enviroments wouldn't work very well (or at all) on say, the ISS or the surface of Mars without some sort of specialization.

    Is this reasonable or true?

    As a secondary question, does anyone have a link to any nanotechnology solutions applied to space travel/exploration problems? I would imagine that these things would be conjectored or hypothetical at this point.
    Solfe

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    1 - What do you mean by nanotechnology?
    and
    2 - Of course, the environment matters.
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

  3. #3
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    Oh, "Nanotechnology" as in the sense of very small scale machines, on the order of 1-100 nanometers.

    I guess I did use that like "Robotechnology" didn't I?
    Solfe

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    One of the issues with environment is what the nanostructures break down into. There have been some worrying results with degraded nanostructures IIRC that implied they harmed some types of cells. So I should imagine you would have to make in vitro ones far safer than open air ones, which would have to be safer than deep space ones.

    Some other issues I can think of off the top of my head:
    Thermal jitter - very hot or very cold environments may cause parts to lock up or the opposite depending on how they are built.
    Vapour pressure of materials - if they use liquids/gels they may evaporate or freeze
    Radiation - UV is probably not going to be your friend
    Chemical resilience - your robot shouldn't dissolve
    Biocompatibility - it shouldn't trigger huge immune responses either
    Failure modes - how things break is going to be critical in some environments

  5. #5
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    Would magnet field be on that list? Say the difference between Earth normal, ISS normal and Mars normal? Or is magnetic field too small a force?
    Solfe

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    I suspect that it would not be hugely important in the three domains you are talking about - but that is a guess and might be influenced by what the machine is doing. But at that scale I can't see it being important. The most common issues you get with the magnetic environment are usually related to eddy currents and things like that - the field gradient across a nanomachine is going to be negligible.

  7. #7
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    Oh, that is interesting. Too small for some effects. Neat.
    Solfe

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    If you ask me, nanotech is probably safer to use in LEO or further away, due to a more simple ecological situation. Whereas outside our atmosphere (a ship, or moon or mars colony) there are likely no species that will get hurt by our nanotech, the earth's ecosystem is much more vulnerable to nanotech (the more complex the system, the more elaborate feedback loops, the easier it is to disrupt a loop and in turn disrupt loops of loops, etc). While some nanotech will be harmless to earth's ecosystem, at least as much of it will be potentially quite harmful to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by filrabat View Post
    If you ask me, nanotech is probably safer to use in LEO or further away, due to a more simple ecological situation. Whereas outside our atmosphere (a ship, or moon or mars colony) there are likely no species that will get hurt by our nanotech, the earth's ecosystem is much more vulnerable to nanotech (the more complex the system, the more elaborate feedback loops, the easier it is to disrupt a loop and in turn disrupt loops of loops, etc). While some nanotech will be harmless to earth's ecosystem, at least as much of it will be potentially quite harmful to it.
    I'd be more worried about the effect of our ecosystem on nanotech. Microorganisms seem much more robust and adaptable and suited to this environment than nano-machines.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ara Pacis View Post
    I'd be more worried about the effect of our ecosystem on nanotech. Microorganisms seem much more robust and adaptable and suited to this environment than nano-machines.
    Another good point, Ara. Despite our 150 or so years of even basic knowledge of microbial behavior, we still barely scratched the surface of that realm.

    Bacterium: MMMMmmmmm! Microscopic carbon-silicon robot seasoned with an encoded chair-building program!! Tayss-TEEEE!!!!

    Even so, the bottom line remains the same: Nanotech is best suited for non-"gaian" environments.

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    Cyborg Ebola...

    Run!

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