This is how NASA protects its shuttles from completely disintegrating on their decent back to Earth and this is also what it looks like to hold 2,200 degrees with your bear hands. When a shuttle comes in, it can get up to 2,500 degrees.
image credit: Roscket Tasartir
In the video you’ll see a giant industrial oven at Kennedy Space Center baking blocks of the material used in the shuttle’s thermal tileThe tiles, made out of LI-900 have the ability to remain cool to the touch. The tiles are 94 percent air by volume and 99.9 percent silica glass making it a poor heat conductor.
The small white cubes are LI-900, a type of low-density surface insulation composed almost entirely of silica glass fibers. They are basically pure quartz sand that are 94% air by volume.
Even after being subjected to that temperature for so long, they can be picked up almost immediately after being taken out of the oven.It’s not new tech, but it’s incredible to see in action.