This isn't an alien spine. Nor is it some elaborate climbing frame. In fact it's a new new synthetic material called NU-110—and it's the highest surface area material ever made.

To give you some idea of what that means, if the internal surface area of one metal-organic NU-110 crystal the size of a grain of salt could be unfolded, it would cover a desktop. If that makes you shrug, a single gram of the stuff has the same surface areas as one-and-a-half football fields. [Journal of the American Chemical Society]