SpaceNews: September 16, 2015

Fabulous-3D-Martian-Bubble-House-Concept1

3D-printed bubble house made for Mars

Last week, NASA announced the top 30 finalists for their 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge.

The contest is meant to encourage innovation in the area of 3D-printing and to develop a shelter on Mars using local materials, such as Martian soil, or recycled materials from spacecraft.

There are several cool designs, but one team from France either didn’t submit their design on time or weren’t invited. Nonetheless, the Sfero Bubble House design from Fabulous is compelling.

Construction of the habitat would be begin with a long pole that would drill into the ground and from which two robotic arms would extend. One arm would suck up and sort material from the surface, while the other one would use the material to construct a dome overhead.

Printed from Martian soil, the home is partially buried underground so that only the top floor is on the surface. In this space, the astronauts could maintain an indoor garden and workspace. The lower floors would be reserved for sleeping, with all floors connected by a spiral staircase.

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NASA working on space shotgun to blast asteroids

A Brooklyn-based company is working with NASA to create the first ever space shotgun.

The gun, developed by Honeybee Robotics, will be used to test the strength of asteroids and other space rocks, in order to determine if a mass is sturdy enough for sampling.

The company, based in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, calls the process “key” to sending humans to Mars. “Collecting and characterizing samples from asteroids is an important science goal in itself, and NASA has identified it as a key step toward human exploration of Mars,” said Kris Zacny, Vice President & Director of Exploration Technology at Honeybee Robotics.

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