Martian soil could serve as a 3D-printing material, researchers have shown, meaning it could be used to manufacture items on the Red Planet.
In a series of tests, Amit Bandyopadhyay, a professor at the Washington State University School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and his team used simulated crushed Martian regolith to demonstrate its capabilities as a 3D-printing material.
The results may be crucial for future crewed missions to Mars.
This reminded me of a 2 page comic I did a while back, which shows 3d printing buildings in passing
Some species of tardigrades, or water bears as the tiny aquatic creatures are also known, can survive in different environments often hostile or even fatal to most forms of life. For the first time, researchers describe a new mechanism that explains how some tardigrades can endure extreme dehydration without dying. They explored proteins that form a gel during cellular dehydration. This gel stiffens to support and protect the cells from mechanical stress that would otherwise kill them. These proteins have also been shown to work in insect cells and even show limited functionality in human cultured cells.
Tardigrades often draw attention to themselves, despite being so tiny. Their uncanny ability to survive in situations that would kill most organisms has captured the public’s imagination. One could easily imagine that by decoding their secrets, we could apply the knowledge to ourselves to make humans more resilient to extreme temperatures, pressures, and even dehydration. This is just science fiction for now, but nevertheless, researchers, also captivated by the microscopic creatures, seek to understand the mechanisms responsible for their robustness, as this could bring other benefits too.
It is widely understood that thawing permafrost can lead to significant amounts of methane being released. However, new research shows that in some areas, this release of methane could be a tenth of the amount predicted from a thaw. A crucial, yet an open question is how much precipitation the future will bring.
Permafrost runs like a frozen belt of soil and sediment around Earth’s northern arctic and sub-arctic tundra. As permafrost thaws, microorganisms are able to break down thousands of years-old accumulations of organic matter. This process releases a number of greenhouse gases. One of the most critical gasses is methane; the same gas emitted by cattle whenever they burp and fart.
Because of this, scientists and public agencies have long feared methane emissions from permafrost to rise in step with global temperatures. But, in some places, it turns out that methane emissions are lower than once presumed.
Declining native species could be planted in urban green spaces. Researchers from the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), Leipzig University and other institutions describe how to use this great potential for species protection. In their most recent study, published in the journal Nature Sustainability, they recommend practical conservation gardening methods in a bid to restructure the horticultural industry and reverse plant species declines.
Despite global efforts to protect biodiversity, many plant species are still declining. In Germany, this includes 70 percent of all plant species, with almost a third (27.5 percent) threatened, and 76 species are already considered extinct. Much of this loss can be attributed to the decline in natural habitats, in part due to increasing urbanization. Ten percent of the total area of Germany, for example, is settlement area.
However, it is precisely these settlement areas that hold enormous—albeit untapped—potential for nature conservation. After all, these areas include millions of private gardens, balconies and green roofs, as well as parks and other public green spaces. Researchers from iDiv, the Universities of Halle and Leipzig and other institutions propose using these potentially available areas for conservation gardening.
However, investigating the dynamics of systems that are far out of equilibrium and watching them “live” has been difficult so far. Now, researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching have accomplished precisely this, using a quantum gas microscope. With this tool, quantum systems can be manipulated and then imaged with such high resolution that even individual atoms are visible. The results of the experiments on linear chains of spins show that the way their orientation propagates corresponds to the so-called Kardar-Parisi-Zhang superdiffusion. This confirms a conjecture that recently emerged from theoretical considerations.
and now I’m depressed. Is there any government agency more fucked up than NASA? Seriously. Not returning to the moon until 2020? We did it the first time in less than ten years, and it’s going to take another 11 years from now to do it again–when we have the infrastructure already? Let’s not talk about why we don’t already have permanent base there.
Did I mention I’m depressed?