Gallery: NASA’s New Space Solar Arrays Fold Like Extreme Origami Flower...

1404-51 071.CR2 ME NASA Solar panel array. Shannon Zirbel, PhD Mechanical Engineering student.. April 18, 2014 Photography by Mark A. Philbrick Copyright BYU Photo 2014 All Rights Reserved (801)422-7322

Bigger is better when it comes to space-based solar panels – but rockets have a very limited amount of room, so getting them into orbit can be a challenge. So where do NASA researchers turn when looking for solutions to this packing problem? Surprisingly, they look no further than the good, old-fashioned art of origami. Using an innovative folding technique, researchers at Brigham Young University (BYU) and NASA created an 82-foot solar array that can fold down to just 8.9 feet when closed.

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