There’s science, and there’s magic. And, incredibly, this is the the first one. Behold the thermal tiles NASA used to protect shuttles from totally disintegrating on their way back to Earth. Awesome.
These tiles, made out of a material called LI-900, are basically sponges of highly refined quartz sand. That ability to still be cool to the touch — which looks like literal witchcraft — is actually due to the fact that each tile is 94 per cent air by volume and 99.9 per cent silica glass by composition. That combo makes it laughably bad at conducting heat, which is why those edges are cool to the touch. It’s not new tech, but it’s incredible to see in action.
And they are just begging to be juggled. [Reddit]