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Rui Wu, the creator of the prototype and a few professors from the University of Manchester, published this article in the Acta Astronautica to inform the public about the development of new heat shield prototype for future spaceships.
Rui Wu, a student at the University of Manchester, developed a prototype for a flexible heat shield. Its lightweight, cost effective, and can be folded, so that it’s easy to store. Wu believes that his invention could help with future research and recovery expeditions. Because this new heat shield would be more cost effective than the current ones, Wu says that it may help the U.S to make a future expedition to Mars.
This prototype uses centrifugal force to accomplish the same thing as the current heat shields we use for spaceships. The force causes the material to stiffen, when it’s in use, making it sturdy. It spins like the seed of the samara tree, when deployed. This causes drag, so that the spacecraft can slow down, and not catch on fire. When the rocket re-enters earth’s atmosphere, the air around it can heat up to 10000 C, but the spaceship doesn’t burn up because of the heat shield on the front of it. This newer skirt shaped heat shield will be less expensive and will be self-regulating, unlike the current heat shields used on spaceships.
Rui Wu used a numerous amount of equations to figure out how to build the prototype. Some of these equations include spin rate, pitching frequency, oscillation frequency, thermal transmission, and
5) With this lightweight and easily storable spinning heat shield, we could make future trips to Mars. We have never been able to send astronauts to Mars. We have only seen pictures of Mars from satellites and robots. We would be able to say that we were the first country to send astronauts to Mars and gather data by hand, as opposed to relying on space robots.
It is said that the first person to travel to Mars is alive at this moment. For me, personally, that’s exciting. We have never been able to step foot on a planet. Astronauts have been able to walk on the moon, but not a planet. It would be interesting to hear about what was found on Mars by astronauts during my lifetime.

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