The following is an excerpt from Natalie Wolchover | September 6, 2012 | Yahoo.com |
Five thousand years ago, the Egyptians used reef knots to fasten their belts. In the first century, Greek physicians employed both reef knots and clove hitches to tie surgical nooses. Today, these ancient knots are coming in handy on Mars.
On the decks of NASA’s Curiosity rover, some of the most advanced pieces of equipment ever developed are being held together by some of the oldest forms of human technology: cleverly looped ropes. Apparently, when you’re sending a robot millions of miles out of reach, time-tested tying methods win out over newfangled epoxies or ratchet zip ties.
Knot enthusiasts at the International Guild of Knot Tyers (IGKT) Forum have analyzed color photos that the Martian rover recently took of the equipment on its decks. As PopSci.com reports, the photos reveal some intricate knot work.
According to knot aficionado David Fred, NASA engineers appear to have primarily employed the “spot tie” on the Curiosity rover — a combination of a clove hitch and a reef knot that works both to bind cables and affix cable bundles to tie-down points. The spot tie is a knot of choice in space missions, Fred explained, because it applies even pressure on bound material without getting overly tight.
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