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We've previous reported about entire 3D-printed buildings, but now we're looking at taking one small step for man, one giant leap for 3D printing with the idea of 3D-printed moon bases. Yes, that's not an error - 3D-printed moon bases.
The European Space Agency and partners from London-based architecture firm Foster + Partners are currently scribbling down some ideas on how they would get 3D-printed moon bases onto the surface of our moon. Lunar dust creates a difficult a problem in terms of building materials, which has forced those involved to think outside of the box, big time.
Simulated moon dust has been combined with magnesium oxide and a "binding salt", which helps to mixture stick together, with the entire process capable of working within the vacuum of space thanks to a new approach to extruding liquids on the moon. The first concept designs from Foster + Partners used a large weight-bearing dome with a "cellular structured wall" in order to keep the people who would be inside of these structures safe from ambient radiation and micrometeroid strikes.
South Korea have just become the 11th country in the world to successfully build their own rocket and satellite and wave goodbye as it flies into space. South Korea have launched their self-developed, two-stage Naro rocket, as well as putting the vehicle's Science and Technology Satellite-2C into orbit.
South Korea's great achievement arrives after two unfortunate failures in 2009 and 2010, but the fun stops here as there's no short-term plans to send anything else into space. The Korea Aerospace Research Institute is working with contractors to build their own in-house rocket stages in 2016, where they hope to reach 300 tons of thrust by 2018.
DARPA have some interesting projects they're working on, with probably only a few percent of them known to the public but this latest one is just so amazing, you have to know about it.
DARPA have been working on dissolvable, biodegradable electronics for a while now, where they showed them off last September - where their main focus was for medical applications. We all know DARPA wouldn't just be playing around with this technology for the medical community, and this is where the technology ramps up to be put into the military.
The defense research group are thinking of how this technology can help out in the military, where they hope to develop "transient electronics" and systems that are "capable of physically disappearing in a controlled, triggerable manner" that work similar to how "commercial-off-the-shelf" systems work.
Iranian media outlets are reporting that Iran has successfully sent a monkey into space. Reports from the AFP state that the monkey made it to an altitude of 75 miles before returning back home safely inside a space capsule.
"Iran successfully launched a capsule, codenamed Pishgam (Pioneer), containing a monkey and recovered the shipment on the ground intact," the defense ministry's aerospace department said in a statement. This is a major leap forward for Iran's space program and paves the way for its plans to send a manned mission to the moon.
This is not the first time Iran has sent living creatures into space; the country has previously launched a ten-foot research rocket carrying a mouse, two turtles and some worms. Today's news adds credence to its ongoing mission to send a human to space by 2020, and to have an astronaut on the moon by 2025.
NASA scientists are reporting that they've discovered the first clear evidence of energy transfer from our Sun's magnetic field to the solar atmosphere, or corona, a scientific theory that now has substantial backing.
The new findings come courtesy of NASA's suborbital telescope, the High Resolution Coronal Imager, which has captured the highest ever resolution images of the solar corona to date, sporting five times the amount of detail than previous tools used to study our closest star. The telecope launched from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico back in July of last year, and has already put smiles on scientists' faces.
The telescope's 10-minute flight had it take 165 images of a large, active region of the Sun's corona. These images showed the evolution of the magnetic field, as well as the releases of energy at temperatures of between a mind-boggling two million and four million degrees. Hi-C principal investigator, Jonathan Cirtain, a heliophysicist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, says:
Scientists have tried for decades to understand how the sun's dynamic atmosphere is heated to millions of degrees. Because of the level of solar activity, we were able to clearly focus on an active sunspot, and obtain some remarkable images. Seeing this for the first time is a major advance in understanding how our sun continuously generates the vast amount of energy needed to heat its atmosphere.
Scientists have created a real-life 'tractor beam' which uses light to attract objects according to research published by Nature Photonics and led by the University of St Andrews. The researchers' hopes are it could eventually lead to medical applications where it would target and attract individual cells.
To us mere mortals, a tractor beam is usually thought of along side Star Trek, where the beam was used to move much bigger objects. Back in 2011, researchers out of China and Hong Kong showed how it could've been done with laser beams of a specific shape, and we've also had NASA funding a study which looked into how the technique might be used to manipulate samples in space.
The new study lead researcher, Dr Tomas Cizmar, research fellow in the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews, said while the technique is new, it has huge potential. He continues:
The practical applications could be very great, very exciting. The tractor beam is very selective in the properties of the particles it acts on, so you could pick up specific particles in a mixture. Eventually this could be used to separate white blood cells, for example.
Researchers out of the European Bioinformatics Institute are claiming to have successfully encoded 154 Shakespeare sonnets, as well as an MP3 of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and crammed it all into a single DNA strand. This information costs of around 739KB of data.
Better yet, researchers were able to read those files again with 100% accuracy leading to the possibilities of eventually storing data within the strands of our DNA. With DNA being just chemical-based instruction manuals for developing highly complex organisms with a seemingly never ending variety of permutations. A researcher involved with the testing said:
We realized that DNA itself is a really efficient way of storing information. Over a second beer, we started to write on napkins and sketch out some details of how that might be made to work.
A single gram of DNA can is capable of storing an incredible 2.2 petabytes of information, with the paper claiming "We recovered 757,051 bytes of information from 337 pg of DNA (above), giving an information storage density of ~2.2 PB/g (= 757,051/337 x 10-12)".
We'd like to extend our warmest wishes to Opportunity for it's ninth birthday today. Opportunity originally landed on the Red Planet late January 24, 2004, three weeks after a twin rover named Spirit landed. Unfortunately, Opportunity is likely lonely as the twin rover stopped functioning in 2010.
Curiosity can keep Opportunity company. Opportunity was originally only supposed to have a 90-day mission, so it has far exceeded that in the past nine years.
"No one could've imagined how good the exploration and scientific discovery would be for this vehicle, looking from the perspective of nine years ago," said John Callas, Opportunity's project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "It's been a phenomenal accomplishment."
Thanks to Opportunity's long life, it's odometer is getting close to the record for most ground covered on the surface of another world. Currently, the Soviet's Lunokhod 2 holds the record with 23 miles traversed on the moon. Opportunity sits at 22.03 miles on its odometer. Here's to another nine years of life!
Ever wonder what the sun sounds like? Well, you can now find out for sure thanks to Robert Alexander. He is a data sonification specialist, which basically means he turns numbers into sounds and music. "I think of myself as an explorer," Alexander says in the video below. "I live in the space between art and science and technology."
Alexander relied on data collected by SOHO, the Solar Heliospheric Observatory, to generate the music. Motherboard's Michael Byrne says, "He's rendered solar flares as a human choir, and turned the sun's rotation into a a tribal beat." He managed to detect a hum from the data, which cycled every 27 days, the same rotational period as the sun.
Take a look at the video and let us know what you think of it. It really does the best job of explaining it.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has found evidence that the 57 mile wide, 1.4 mile deep McLaughlin Crator once was filled with water that flowed from an underground source.
The evidence lies in the bottom of the crator where there are layered, flat rocks which contain carbonate and other minerals that form only in the presence of water. Small channels in the crator wall also resemble something you might find in a dried up lake bed here on Earth.
The findings were published in the latest edition of Nature Geoscience, and lend even more evidence that Mars could have once been a habitable planet. "This new report and others are continuing to reveal a more complex Mars than previously appreciated, with at least some areas more likely to reveal signs of ancient life than others," said Rich Zurek of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.