In the 1991 film "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," a malevolent time-traveling and shape-shifting android called T-1000 that was made of liquid metal demonstrated a unique quality. Hit with blasts or bullets, its metal would heal itself.

Self-healing metal is still just science fiction, right? Apparently not.

Scientists on Wednesday described how pieces of pure platinum and copper spontaneously healed cracks caused by metal fatigue during nanoscale experiments that had been designed to study how such cracks form and spread in metal placed under stress. They expressed optimism that this ability can be engineered into metals to create self-healing machines and structures in the relatively near future.