Who doesn’t want more Mothra? I love macro shots and this is a great one of a moth in flight. I love the detail that can be seen in the head and eyes. Originally posted on the National Geographic website, and I think the photographer has a site here.
Nano-suit is just a cool word.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published yesterday on a new technology that enables insect larvae to survive in a vacuum thanks to ‘Nano-suits’. If your mind is not already swimming with the implications you are not a sci-fi fan…
I’m guessing that the discovery was made by accident, as almost all good discoveries are. The group was using an electron microscope to take submicroscopic pictures of fruit fly larvae. This is usually done in a vacuum to prevent the electron beam from being disrupted from molecules in the air. Someone (a grad student most likely), probably forgot to turn OFF the electron beam before turning ON the vacuum. Under normal conditions the vacuum sucks the moisture and gases out of the subject desiccating and destroying it. This time, however, the larvae was fine. It actually survived the vacuum and grew to maturity.
Apparently, the larvae had an organic film on its surface that was polymerised, or hardened, by the electron beam into a thin membrane that trapped the moisture and gasses inside where they belonged. The group further tested the method and found that they could make ‘Nano-suits’ on other bugs using a common detergent as the organic film.
It wouldn’t take much, evolutionarily speaking, to imagine a such a film protecting a living organism in an interplanetary journey. Maybe that’s how the Zerg do it…
Here’s an excerpt from an old short story based on one of my favorite characters. She has a long and sordid history that I have yet to fully write out but this skips ahead to the end. You will note the story is heavily inspired by one of my favorite under appreciated movies ‘Mimic”. It still needs some refining, but here it is:
In the darkness, she struggled alone, unseen forces constricting her body. Her breath was shallow and weak.
The last molt had been difficult, but it was nothing like this. Finally, she felt the tearing begin. It was like invisible knives slicing her all over her body. It was a terrible searing pain that brought relief from the crushing weight. Some relief, but it was not enough.
All her life she had been rejected, hated and used. Now even her own body would reject her and deliver the finishing blow. Frantically she began tearing at her own flesh, trying to peel away the tough dead exterior.