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Navy researchers are looking in an unlikely place for new technology: at the bottom of the ocean where the hagfish lives. The reason the Navy is interested in the primitive eel-looking creature has to do with its defense mechanism: Slime.
The hagfish, often referred to as the slime eel, creates a slimy substance that rapidly expands under water and allows it to escape from predators by clogging its attacker’s gills. Think of an octopus’ ink, except this is a giant cloud of snot that chokes a predator. Disgusting, but effective.
It’s this slime that has the Navy’s interest because of what it might let them do.
Dr. Ryan Kincer demonstrates the elasticity of the hagfish slime secreted from the the Pacific hagfish within the net aboard Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) Nov. 29, 2016.U.S. Navy photo by Ron Newsome
According to the Virginian-Pilot, a research team in Panama City, Florida, has re-created the slime and now is working on turning it into something useable. Some of the ideas in the works include making a material that helps protect firefighters and divers, creating an anti-shark spray, or coating ships to protect against barnacles, algae, and other aquatic life.
While the Navy tries to figure out what it’ll do with the slime, one problem they won’t have to deal with is how to replicate it, because as it turns out it’s very simple.
Researchers at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Panama City used the Pacific hagfish in their study, because its slime is a combination of two proteins and saltwater. To create the proteins the researchers grew them in separate petri dishes filled with E. coli bacteria, then isolated and purified them, before combining them in a centrifuge.
Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) scientist and engineers compare synthetic hagfish slime (left) and authentic Pacific hagfish slime (right) aboard NSWC PCD Nov. 29 2016. Pictured form left to right: Dr. Josh Kogot, Dr. Michelle Kincer, Dr. Ryan Kincer.U.S. Navy photo by Ron Newsome
"What's fascinating to me is just how simple in the grand scheme of things this system is,” Josh Kogot, a biochemist at Naval Surface Warfare Center said in an interview with the Virginian-Pilot. “It's really a two-protein system with seawater, and it's able to be this strong and expansive. It can expand 10,000 times in volume in milliseconds."
Depending on how the research goes, divers in the future may be swimming around in suits made coated with a layer of hagfish slime, which sounds disgusting, but is also kind of cool.
This article originally appeared on Military.com.
Inside Forward Operating Base Oqab in Kabul, Afghanistan stands a wall painted with a mural of an airman kneeling before a battlefield cross. Beneath it, a black gravestone bookended with flowers and dangling dog tags displays the names of eight U.S. airmen and an American contractor killed in a horrific insider attack at Kabul International Airport in 2011.
It's one of a number of such memorials ranging from plaques, murals and concrete T-walls scattered across Afghanistan. For the last eight years, those tributes have been proof to the families of the fallen that their loved ones have not been forgotten. But with a final U.S. pullout from Afghanistan possibly imminent, those families fear the combat-zone memorials may be lost for good.
After a string of high profile incidents, the commander overseeing the Navy SEALs released an all hands memo stating that the elite Naval Special Warfare community has a discipline problem, and pinned the blame on those who place loyalty to their teammates over the Navy and the nation they serve.
A group of vets are raising money to pay for a medal the Iraqi government awarded them, but never delivered
In June 2011 Iraq's defense minister announced that U.S. troops who had deployed to the country would receive the Iraq Commitment Medal in recognition of their service. Eight years later, millions of qualified veterans have yet to receive it.
The reason: The Iraqi government has so far failed to provide the medals to the Department of Defense for approval and distribution.
A small group of veterans hopes to change that.
For a cool $8.5 million, you could be the proud owner of a "fully functioning" F-16 A/B Fighting Falcon fighter jet that a South Florida company acquired from Jordan.
The combat aircraft, which can hit a top speed of 1,357 mph at 40,000 feet, isn't showroom new — it was built in 1980. But it still has a max range of 2,400 miles and an initial climb rate of 62,000 feet per minute and remains militarized, according to The Drive, an automotive website that also covers defense topics, WBDO News 96.5 reported Wednesday.