NASA Has a New Approach to Building Systems on the Moon and Mars

Space Flight Program by NASAConstructing landing pads, roads, and habitats on the Moon will appear different than the common building site on Earth. Excavation robots will have to be lightweight and capable of digging in reduced gravity.

Whole New Construction Methods Designed by NASA

As an important part of the Artemis program, NASA has a new concept for the core surface elements required to establish a sustained presence on the Moon. This emphasizes a way to allow astronauts to conduct more science and explore. They are thinking about putting in place a special lunar terrain vehicle, a surface habitat on the Moon, and a habitable mobility platform or lunar RV by the end of the decade. The organization is investing in advanced manufacturing, which is one of the five industries in total, for the future to enable improved life on Earth and space exploration. This also includes technologies that can find and use the available sources on Mars and the Moon to build out future infrastructure.

Mars Ice HouseToday, NASA is working with a highly-advanced construction technologies company called ICON. It’s based in Austin, Texas. The R&D of a space-based construction system could support the future exploration of Mars and the Moon. The company has 3D-printed whole communities of structures and homes on Earth and participated in NASA’s 3D Printed Habitat Challenge. There, the agency shows an innovative construction method and technologies that may be adaptable for applications beyond our home planet.

Further Collaboration with NASA

Another U.S. government agency is extremely interested in applications and technology here on Earth. The U.S. gave ICON a dual-sense SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) to expand 3D printing to workable and livable structures. As a part of the contract that NASA also funded will be the exploration commonalities between Off-Earth and Earth-based applications. ICON will also put effort into this investment.

human habitat in space pictureThe co-founder and CEO of ICON states that from the very establishment of the company, they have been thinking about off-world construction. They are confident that learning to build on other planets than the Earth will also offer the required breakthroughs required to solve housing challenges humanity faces in this world.

The SBIR award will build on ICON’s commercial demonstrations and activities on Phase 3 of NASA’s 3D Printed Habitat Challenge. The whole project can result in a unique collaboration to further the technology development efforts by NASA.

Kombucha Cultures May Lead to Better and Sustainable Water Filters, Says Study

The healthy and refreshing kombucha tea is highly in trend these days, and it is so for good reasons! Studies have shown that along with holding a lot of health benefits, the kombucha cultures might also serve as the key to the betterment of water, with environmentally sustainable and affordable living water filtration membranes. No need to rack your brain already! Just read on to know everything.

The Finding

A study paper about this interesting find was recently published in ACS ES&T Water, the journal of the American Chemical Society. According to the paper, experiments by groups of researchers at Arizona State University (ASU) and Montana Technological University (MTU) have shown that kombucha cultures grown membranes were better than current commercial membranes in preventing the creation of biofilms, which is a major challenge in water filtration. How? Let’s get into that.

The Kombucha SCOBY

Kombucha is made by combining three basic ingredients- tea, sugar, and SCOBY. SCOBY is the kombucha culture, which stands for ‘Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast.’ This culture, SCOBY, is also commonly known as tea fungus, tea mushroom, Manchurian mushroom, or the “mother.” It is believed that kombucha tea originated from Manchuria in China or Russia. This SCOBY is a collection of jelly-like, but firm cellulose fiber or biofilm, which acts like a sourdough starter. The active bacteria in the culture create the perfect ground for the yeast to breed.

The Filtration Property

Now, this kombucha culture is the one, which is highly potent as a useful biomaterial. Last year, scientists created a new type of tougher “living material” out of kombucha SCOBYs, which can be used as biosensors to detect damage in water or other packaged drinks. The team engineered the cells of the lab-grown SCOBY yeast to produce bioluminescent enzymes. These enzymes are capable of sensing pollutants in water. They also help in breaking them down after detection. As a result, now there is the prospect of developing SCOBY-based water filters, which will be more enhanced than the polymer-based commercial filters, in the process of purifying contaminated drinking water.