Scientists develop Martian concrete for building architecture in outer space
Lin Wan, Roman Wendner and Gianluca Cusatis from Northwestern University have formulated a construction material that combines Martian soil with molten sulfur, which they claim could be used to build an entire village on Mars.
The most important feature of the material is that – unlike regular concrete – it is produced without water, which is in scarce supply on Mars. The majority of water that exists on the planet today is frozen.
Another advantage of the material is that it entirely recyclable, so it could be melted down and reset into a new form. It also has a natural resistance to acid and salt, and can endure very low temperatures.
Space fungus! Mold attacks Space Station plants
Four zinnia plants on the International Space Station are sickly or dead after mold was discovered in the Veggie experiment facility late December, according to NASA. The problem was immediately traced back to excessive water in the experiment, which was addressed. There are still three healthy plants that appear unaffected by the issue.
ISS commander and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly reported the mold to Mission Control Dec. 22 just as Veggie principal investigator Trent Smith was trying to manage the water problem. In pictures, Smith saw water on the plants a few days before. He told Discovery News he was trying to relay a command from NASA’s station operations team to increase fan speed in Veggie, but the mold developed before the command could be put through.
SpaceX plans drone ship rocket landing for Jan. 17 launch
SpaceX hopes to make history again on Jan. 17 by landing a Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship at sea after launching a payload into orbit. SpaceX confirmed to NBC News that it would be making the attempt; the news was earlier reported by space journalist Charles Lurio on Twitter.
This launch will take off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, carrying NASA’s Jason-3 satellite. Jason-3 carries instruments to monitor the ocean’s surface, collecting information about circulation patterns and perhaps rising sea levels.
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