Once again, real life imitates Star Trek

You now that scene in Star Trek: The Voyage Home, where engineer Montgomery Scott helped a 20th Century scientist invent transparent aluminum so they could build a whale tank in their captured Klingon Bird of Prey to carry two humpbacks to the 23rd century to communicate with an alien space craft? Yeah, well nothing in that statement makes sense, except for the part about transparent aluminium. That makes sense now.

The US Naval Research Laboratory announced a major breakthrough in materials science on Thursday. After decades of research and development, the NRL has created a transparent, bulletproof material that can be molded into virtually any shape. This material, known as Spinel, is made from a synthetic powdered clay that is heated and pressed under vacuum (aka sintered) into transparent sheets. “Spinel is actually a mineral, it’s magnesium aluminate,” Dr. Jas Sanghera, who leads the research, said in a statement. “The advantage is it’s so much tougher, stronger, harder than glass. It provides better protection in more hostile environments — so it can withstand sand and rain erosion.”

THIS is why Star Trek beats Star Wars. You don’t see people walking arund with real working lightsabers.

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