A new metal alloy keeps its flexibility and strength after high doses of radiation, making it potentially useful for building spacecraft or Mars colonies

Chemistry 20 October 2022

Electron microscope image of the new aluminium alloy

Courtesy of Stefan Pogatscher and Matheus Aurajo

An aluminium alloy that is 100 times more resistant to radiation damage than a common spacecraft material could be used to improve shielding in crew capsules or build houses on Mars.

Aluminium alloys are often used in space because they are both lightweight and strong. But when they are exposed to powerful radiation from the sun or galactic rays for long periods of time, their molecular structure can change, making them weaker or more brittle.

In 2019, Stefan Pogatscher at the University …