Space stuff of the future put to the test

This may look like a NASA version of the game Connect Four, but in fact it’s a scientific experiment.

Photographed during a spacewalk as part of the current Atlantis shuttle mission, the Materials on International Space Station Experiment 8 (MISSE-8) consists of a series of circular test beds containing solar cells, computing devices and new and experimental materials, some of which, NASA hopes, may have applications on future spacecraft. The panel is attached to the outside of the space station, exposing the objects to the rigours of space, which include radiation, micrometeorites and extreme temperatures.

MISSE-8 is expected to return to Earth in early 2013.

http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/07/space-stuff-of-the-future-put.html