NASA just awarded four research groups a total of $16.5 million to develop projects that focus on improving airliner safety, fuel efficiency and noise. Included is a remarkable study by The Cessna aircraft company, for a “magic skin” that will be “self healing”, and able to repair itself when punctured or torn. Working with GE, Cessna hopes to develop the magic skin to be commercially available within a 20-25 years.

The skin will be made from a material called STAR-C2, which stands for “smoothing, thermal, absorbing, reflective, conductive, cosmetic”. The conductive film would coat planes to protect them from lightning, impact damage, extreme temperatures, and electromagnetic interference, and it would cut down on engine noise in the cabin.

The skin would reduce these risks by 50% while providing clear evidence of any impact damage that may occur. Although it won’t be developed for a few years, the magic skin could drastically increase airplane safety.

Via Popular Science