Cockroach Spacesuits

Some of life's little treasures are made when finding a formal research report that kinda runs parallel to what one has thought of - and written about - long before, in the form of sci fi.

One of these treasure moments has happened for me recently, upon reading the article at about "Insects covered in tough stuff
Locust exoskeleton could inspire new, fracture-resistant materials" - By Rebecca Cheung

This brought to mind one of the things I wrote about in my high-tech sci fi novel "Building Up" (at Amazon: ) particularly in Chapter 16 titled "Cockroach Spacesuits." I wrote the novel in 2006, and was one of the novels I converted to paperback starting in 2009.

In writing fiction like this, one creates a difficult situation in imagination, and then lets it play out to form the story. Or at least that is what I do. In this case, the situation had evolved to be one of a group of folks discovering they are isolated in a prototype space station, with no further supplies to become available, and only two spacesuits on hand.

In the story, they had only recently prevented someone from reflexively killing a few little brown German Cockroaches that had hitchhiked up to the station in the last load of supplies, but they realized that the insects could be a needed source of protein and help recycle their food scraps.

Then one of the story's heroes suggested also using the exoskeleton material of the cockroaches as a possible material with which to make more spacesuits for excursions to the exterior of the space station, needing doing at times.

Although the referenced science news article mentions only the exoskeleton material of locusts, it is close enough to give me a feeling of vindication. A tiny reward, very welcome to my abused self-esteem. I put a lot of innovative ideas into that novel, as I have done in each of my sci fi novels - there are six of them now in paperback and as ebooks, although priced at minimum to cover publisher's cut.

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