It’s pretty easy to cool down an overheating desktop computer with an extra fan, but what do you do if there’s no air? That’s the hurdle NASA‘s engineers are hoping to clear with a new prototype pump that the agency unveiled last week. The pinkie-sized instrument relies upon a technology known as electrohydrodynamic (EHD)-based thermal control, which uses electric fields to inject coolant through small vents on a thermal cold plate, before moving the extra heat to a radiator and spreading it far away from any temperature-sensitive areas. With no moving parts, the lightweight cooler uses only about half a watt of power and can be sized to work with small electric components or lab-on-a-chip devices. The challenge is to make sure that the pump can survive the vibrations of a rocket launch, though NASA will put it to the test during a rocket mission on June 9 and in 2013, when an EHD thermal cold plate will be placed on the International Space Station. Start your countdown clock and blast past the break for a full press release.
NASA’s new cooling pump doesn’t need moving parts, set to chill out in space next month originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 31 May 2011 02:17:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.