NASA restores damaged paintings using "atomic oxygen"S

Check out these two views of a priceless, centuries-old painting. On the left, you can see the painting after Cleveland Museum of Art staff used methylene chloride to clean and restore it. On the right, the painting after NASA's cleaning.

For works of art that are believed to be irreparably damaged, NASA's new process can return them to vividness. The process involves putting the painting inside a vacuum chamber where "atomic oxygen" is created. But if only part of the painting is damaged, then NASA has found a way to create a "pencil beam" to restore just that part of the picture. The atomic oxygen removes organic contaminants without damaging the pigment in paint, which has mostly oxidized already. [IB Times]