Yes, you read that correctly. Transparent aluminum, which first made its debut in the Star Trek movie, the voyage home, is now allegedly a reality, if the following article shared by Mr. B.G. is to be believed:
Now, I had to admit that when I read this, my mind - as usual - went into high octane speculation mode, this time on steroids. This first thing I thought of, believe it or not, was that old Doris Day-Arthur Godfrey movie, The Glass-Bottom Boat, only this time, I thought about sitting in an airplane(which I'm loathe to do in any case), made of transparent aluminum, and thus, having no need of windows, since the whole thing was transparent. Simply look out(or down through the transparent aluminum floor), and be scared witless. Or, for the thrill-ride fan, the transparent roller coaster, complete with transparent cars(providing, of course, that high tensile steel is on the make-it-transparent agenda. I'll get back with you on that; DARPA hasn't returned my call).
But again, like yesterday's blog, it was the timing here that threw me, a few days before the attacks in Paris. So rather than frivilous transparent airplanes or roller coasters, imagine the potential military applications: transparent drones? Missiles? Indeed, the article itself suggested the same:
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.”
Being a more durable material, it will boast of a thinner layer of spinel which is touted to deliver a better level of performance as opposed to glass. When one takes weight-sensitive platforms such as UAVs (unmanned autonomous vehicles, or “drones”), and head-mounted face shields, you can be sure that this is a technology that will change the way we see the world work.(Emphasis added)
However, the reader will have caught, perhaps, what really was feeding my high octane speculation: "It provides better protection in more hostile environments - so it can withstand sand and rain erosion." Or, besides blowing sand and dust, perhaps also it can better withstand micro-meteorite impacts as it travels through space, besides nasty Martian dust storms? And with appropriate modifications from nanotechnology, perhaps such micrometeorite impact pits would gradually be eradicated and a smooth surface restored?
The bottom line here, folks, is I strongly suspect that there is much more to this story than meets the eye, for such a technology would appear to be tailor made for the hostile environment of deep space or, for that matter, hostile planetary environments. Accordingly, I thus also strongly suspect that this story is yet another component in the slow leak, the slow drip drip drip of technologies we've seen exposed in the media in the past few years. Not for nothing, I suspect, does the article reference the fourth of the Star Trek movies, and its reference to transparent aluminum, for the "space context" of that movie, and that mention, would not seem to be accidental here. In my mind, I suspect a little bit of the veil has been pulled aside so that we can glimpse just a bit of what has been taking place in the secret space program, black projects world.
See you on the flip side...