The Significance of Gold to Space Travel

Gold is one of the most precious metals in the world and has always been a symbol of wealth and luxury. It has been in use for centuries for different purposes such as jewelery, gold coins, dentistry, biology and manufacturing. It fetches a high price in the market, and the rate of gold is an important part of the world’s economy.

Gold has a number of characteristics that make it an extremely useful metal for many uses other than creation of beautiful jewelery. It is an excellent electrical conductor and is very malleable and ductile. Moreover, it has good resistance to corrosion and has good thermal conductivity as well. All these characteristics make it essential for use in a number of electronic products.

The significance of gold in space travel cannot be denied. It is used in a number of ways in all space crafts and it would not be wrong to say that without the use of gold, man could not have visited the moon. When building a spacecraft, it is important to note that once it has been launched in space, there is minimum possibility of repair or lubrication. Thus, highly dependable materials have to be used in their manufacturing such as gold.

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Gold is used in circuits that are fitted into the spacecrafts as it is an excellent conductor. Also, many parts of spacecrafts are fitted with gold coated polyester film that reflects infrared radiations, and helps control the temperature inside the vehicle. Without this, the vehicle would absorb too much heat, making it difficult to operate. Gold sheets with thickness of around 0.15 millimeters are used as a radiation sheet as they effectively reflect the light of the sun. Gold is also used as a lubricant between the various mechanical parts of the spacecraft. If any other lubricant was used, it would not have withstood the radiation in space and would have volatilized. Since gold is very malleable and ductile, it is easy to create very thin gold sheets that are used as lubricants between parts of metal.

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Gold is also used in the helmets worn by astronauts. A very thin layer of gold is electroplated into the inside of the visor which prevents harmful solar radiation from entering and reflects it back. In this way, it protects the vision of the astronauts.

Gold is significant in space travel and since space travel has increased over the years, so has the demand for gold. It is used in almost all space vehicles designed by NASA which are worth billions of dollars. In the construction of the popular US Columbia Space Shuttle, around forty eight kilogram’s of gold was used for objects such as reflectors, conductors and in the brazing of alloys.

Although gold is an expensive element, its myriad qualities make it vital in the use of space vehicles. Had it not been for gold, space travel might not have been such a successful mission as it is today.

Source by Jack Wogan