December 8, 2015
Having previously announced that it had signed a launch contract in pursuit of the Google Lunar XPRIZE, Moon Express has now received official verification of the contract from XPRIZE. It is the second team receive verification, after SpaceIL. The news kicks off a new space race.
Early last year, researchers at MIT floated the idea of "gas stations" in space that have the potential to cut the costs of future missions to the Moon considerably. Now a new study out of MIT says that, although possibly a little out of the way, the Moon would make a worthwhile refueling pit stop for manned missions to Mars by reducing the mass of a launch from Earth by 68 percent.
NASA has announced the winners of its 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge Design Competition.
The contest sought architectural concepts for how 3D printing might be
used to create shelters on the Red Planet. The overall winner, Ice
House, would be built using the planet's predicted abundant water
As the movies have shown us, space travel is an intimidating prospect, what with the possibilities of running out of air, the rocket engines conking out, or the shipboard computer deciding to bump off the crew. Another danger is fast-flying orbital debris piercing the hull. Scientists may be on their way to a solution to that one, however, in the form of a new self-healing material.
Should we ever want to set up any sort of base or colony on Mars, it's inevitably going to require water to support life, but transporting enough liquids to the Red Planet is likely to be impractical. With NASA and others planning manned Mars missions, a team based in Singapore is already working on a specialized Martian rover that could be used to "mine" for water below the planet's crimson surface.