Environmentally friendly engines use technology from re-entering spacecraft
The return capsule on the International Space Station must be able to leave orbit and plunge through Earth's atmosphere quickly and safely. Its outer surface is made of materials that face extreme aerodynamic friction. Like the catalytic converter in automotive exhaust systems, both use special nickel-plate coatings. These will not only help bring astronauts back from the Station, but also reduce harmful nitrogen oxide in diesel engine exhaust by 80 per cent. Sweet.