Origami, an ancient art form involving the folding of paper, is now being used in modern applications such as space exploration, engineering, mathematics, and medicine. One aerospace engineer, Manan Arya, is using origami to help block starlight and make new discoveries about the universe. When looking for Earth-like planets near stars, the glare from those stars can make it difficult to detect the faint light from the planets. Arya believes that folding origami structures could help block out the starlight and allow for better observation. He refers to this challenge as the “suitcase problem,” where engineers need to fit large structures into small spaceships. Arya’s interest in space exploration began in childhood, but he realized that he was better suited for engineering rather than becoming an astronaut. He later discovered origami and its potential in the field of aerospace. Origami has already been used by NASA, such as in the folding of the James Webb telescope’s main mirror and sunshield. Arya hopes that his work with origami will contribute to future space missions and technological advancements. He is also exploring the use of origami techniques in robotics and biomedical devices.
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