Auckland company Lanaco produces wool that, indeed, has been used to make a breathable filter for astronauts. The material has triggered interest from NASA, who will soon trial it for use in space.
“They tracked us down. There was an international scouting company based in New York and our name popped up,” Lanaco chief executive officer Nick Davenport told Newshub.
“We got a call out of the blue.”
Lanaco’s head of technology Shaun Tan added: “Being able to be at Houston, at Johnson Space Centre, and mingling with the engineers and scientists, is a great experience.
“It’s one of those aspiration things since I was young, looking at space, looking at rockets.”
The filter, which might be used on the Orion spacecraft in 2023, would help astronauts breathe if there was a fire onboard.
“This filter that we have is supposed to help the astronauts survive longer in a situation like that,” said Tan.
“You can’t call 111 in space, you have to deal with it immediately and you have to breathe the air that has been affected.”