A prototype flexible heat shield for spacecraft that could reduce the cost of space travel and even aid future space missions to Mars has been developed by the Ph.D. student, Rui Wu, at the University of Manchester. Heat shields are essentially used as the brakes to stop spacecraft burning up and crashing on entry and re-entry into a planet's atmosphere. This design is the first in the world to utilise centrifugal forces that stiffen lightweight materials to prevent burnup. The existing spacecraft heat shield methods include huge inflatables and mechanically deployed structures that are often heavy and complicated to use. As well as being lightweight in design is prototype is also self-regulating.