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Olympics Attendees Will Experience “Depths of Space” at New Complex

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Attendees at this year's Winter Olympics will get a chance to step into space—almost.

Designers for South Korea's 2018 winter games are creating a building-size black hole using the darkest-known man-made material called Vantablack, according to CNN.

First made public in 2014, Vantablack is a nanotube substance that absorbs 99.9 percent of light, topping charcoal at 96 percent. It's so dark that the human eye can't make out the shape of any object coated with it.

While Vantablack was first manufactured by Surrey NanoSystems for space applications, some have started incorporated the substance into design and architecture, including the Asif Khan, the British architect behind the Olympics' next feature.

Khan calls the exhibit a "schism in space" – an entire building coated in Vantablack, pinpointed with small lights to look like a galaxy of stars.

And this is one night sky with the power to steal the sun's show.

"It will be like you're looking into the depths of space itself," Khan said. "As you approach the building that star field will grow to fill your entire field of view, and then you'll enter as though you're being absorbed into a cloud of blackness."

The designers first thought of the idea when trying to provide a contrast for the Winter Games' whiteness.

Vantablack's properties are due to its vertically-aligned nanotube structure, which traps light.

"Carbon nanotubes are like very, very long blades of grass," explains Surrey NanoSystems founder Ben Jensen. "Now you imagine if you were a human walking around in grass 1,000 feet tall how little light would get down to you. It's like that but on a very tiny scale."

Khan has wowed Olympic-goers before, creating a Beatbox Pavillion for Coca Cola at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, an interactive platform that responded to visitors' movements and touch.

 

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