Piezoelectric nanowires are the stuff that make power-generating pants a possibility, and that prodigious potential has drawn the attention of NASA. You see, self-powered spacesuits are awfully attractive to our nation's space agency, and a few of its finest student researchers have discovered that the current-creating strands of zinc oxide can be made longer and straighter -- and therefore more powerful -- when freed from gravity's unrelenting pull. That means nanowires grown in microgravity could lead to higher capacity batteries and the aforementioned juice-generating interstellar garb. Of course, there's no such end-products yet, but let's see if NASA can do what others have not: give pants-power to the people.

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