Asteroid mining, Martian soil and a new Pluto wonder

Asteroid-mining company 3D-prints object from space rock metals

PlanetaryResources_3DSystems_Meteorite2-e1452180821501An asteroid-mining company is giving the world a glimpse at its vision of the future. Planetary Resources, which aims to extract water and other useful materials from asteroids, has 3D-printed an object using metal powder gleaned from a space rock.

“It is the first part ever 3D-printed with material from outer space and is reminiscent of a design that could originate from a 3D printer in the zero-gravity environment of space,” Planetary Resources representatives wrote in a blog post Thursday (Jan. 7) about the object, which is about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) tall by 3.4 inches (8.7 cm) wide and weighs 8.8 ounces (250 grams)

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The effort to turn Martian soil into rock solid concrete

A group at Northwestern University wants to solve an engineering challenge now to prepare for the future: it’s turning Mars-like soil into concrete. And, in turn, that concrete requires very little (if any) water. It’s just the thing we may need to make life on Mars sustainable.

One of the big problems in setting up any habitation on Mars is the need to take everything needed with you on a mission. This requires a lot of rocket fuel and a very large rocket, something that makes an inflatable, lightweight habitat a more ideal scenario. But as we saw in The Martian that comes with its own set of troubles.

A new Pluto wonder? Possible ice volcanoes spotted

The more scientists learn about Pluto, the more interesting the dwarf planet gets. Two of the towering mountains observed by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft during its historic July 14 flyby of Pluto — the 13,000-foot-high (3,960 meters) Wright Mons and the roughly 18,000-foot-high (5,500 m) Piccard Mons — appear to be ice volcanoes, mission team members said in a new video.

“From New Horizons’ vantage point, these features look just like volcanoes do on Earth when seen from orbit,” mission team member Amy Shira Teitel said in the video.

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A job opening for a Software Engineer, Blue Origin (USA). As a part of a rapidly evolving team, you will help develop 21st Century software systems to design, build and operate space vehicles. Using the latest technologies, you will build systems that will become the foundation of a company that is doing things for which no blueprint exists. More information

Build up your space resume by participating in the project KubOS: KubOS is a small layer in the development process that will allow satellite developers to quickly create mission software for a satellite. KubOS, Open Source Software for Satellites, is built for nano satellites, pico satellites, and cubesats, and it can be scaled for small satellites. More information


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