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Read More: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/alien-thigh-bone-on-mars-excitement-from-alien-hunters-at-evidence-of-extraterrestrial-life-9685227.html
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He wants to use depleted uranium to engineer laminated panels, and another wants to use a nuclear reactor!
Pyramid and human “beehives” designed for Mars dwellers
A Martian pyramid, a modular beehive, and a three-tiered Acropolis have made the final cut in the MakerBot Mars Base Challenge.
Run by Thingiverse and launched in conjunction with the 3D printer maker and Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the challenge has been open since May 30 and clocked up 227 applications. The three winning entries will each be awarded a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer in order to help them fully explore their designs for Martian abodes.
The challenge brief asked entrants to take into account the extreme weather, radiation levels, lack of oxygen, and dust storms when designing their Martian shelters. And although the applicants did not always nail the science, their designs have a novelty we’ve not seen since Nasa’s 1970s space station and scooter designs.
The Thingiverse community appears to have been hugely supportive, printing out the designs themselves and offering handy hints in the comment section beneath each entry. The odd one points out how each design would immediately be flattened or sucked into oblivion if actually installed on Mars—all valid points. But as one designer, Noah Hornberger, points out: “A toy car does not need fuel because it runs on the imagination of the child who drives it around. So it seems to me that I’m driving my toy car at full speed and you are here telling me what kind of fuel and oil it needs to run. I would rather leave the physics to the right people.”
Nasa has become involved in such a project for just that reason. To ensure it’s not just the mathematicians and engineers that have an interest or a say in our Martian future. If we’re going to move to Mars one day, or send people on a one-way mission to pave the way for us, we should probably all be showing some interest, no matter our levels of space geology knowledge.
The Queen B
The modular “apartment fortress” comes with all the mod cons and home comforts you might expect on Earth—a kitchen, two bathrooms, and a garden. Oh yeah, and a 3D print lab and decompression room. “I have extrapolated on the idea of a fully functional apartment on Mars with all the modern amenities fitted inside 16-foot-diameter hexagons,” says creator Noah Hornberger. “I think that to present Mars life to people and actually make it appealing to the public it needs to feel like home and reflect the lifestyle trends of Earth living.”
He chose a flat-paneled, low-level design that would be cheap and easy to build—at least relatively so in the harsh environment—and allow for less heat energy to be lost. The hexagon shape was chosen for its durability and ability to form modular designs.
He wants to use depleted uranium to engineer laminated panels that protect us from the elements—it needs to be sandwiched between other materials to make it safe. By itself, it’s obviously incredibly dangerous for humans, so there are some kinks to be worked out here.
An exothermic chemical reactor will be used to heat an underground water container, which will provide heat for the basecamp. Excess steam could also power generators to supplement solar power.
The Martian pyramid
This sturdy-looking number hopes to withstand many a dust storm on the Red Planet. Creator Valcrow says: “This design focuses on looping essential systems into as many multi-functional roles as possible to ensure that the very limited resources are used and reused as much as possible.” This includes food created through a sustainable aquaponics system which would sit at the top of the pyramid, where it can get some light.
A mirror-based series of solar panels will be responsible for collecting energy, with a nuclear generator for backup, and water would be stored near the main power center so that it heats up. The whole thing is inspired by the Pyramid of Giza, but unlike that beauty it can be reconfigured for science or engineering tasks and experiments.
Taking into account that atmosphere is more about the inside, than out, the creator adds: “High traffic rooms all have ample natural Martian light to help with the crews extended isolation and confinement.”
Oldest metal object in Middle East discovered in woman’s grave
A copper awl is the oldest metal object unearthed to date in the Middle East. The discovery reveals that metals were exchanged across hundreds of miles in this region more than 6,000 years ago, centuries earlier than previously thought, researchers say.
The artifact was unearthed in Tel Tsaf, an archaeological site in Israel located near the Jordan River and Israel’s border with Jordan. The area was a village from about 5100 B.C. to 4600 B.C., and was first discovered in A.D. 1950, with digs taking place from the end of the 1970s up to the present day.
California’s Record Drought Is Making Earth’s Surface Rise
Lifting land shows that the U.S. West is now missing some 62 trillion gallons of water
The record-breaking California drought is so bad that monitoring stations used to study earthquakes can detect the drying ground rising up. Measurements of these subtle movements, made using GPS instruments, suggest that the western United States is missing some 62 trillion gallons of water, enough to cover the entire region six inches deep.
Drought has plagued various parts of the western United States for years. California’s dry times started at the beginning of 2013 and have continued to worsen. Nearly 100 percent of the state is now experiencing drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, and more than half the state falls under the most severe category of “exceptional drought.” Water restrictions are in place. Farmers have been hard hit. And some people are even questioning participation in the viral “ice-bucket challenge” that is raising awareness and funding for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
While it’s not difficult to see parched lawns and drying lakes, and scientists can directly measure changes in rainfall and stream flow, getting a measure of how much water has been lost from the desiccating landscape hasn’t been easy. The new study, appearing today in the journal Science, provides a way to do just that by taking advantage of GPS monitors set up across the country.
The Plate Boundary Observatory consists of more than 1,000 permanent GPS stations, with the majority concentrated along the seismically active West Coast. The stations measure millimeter-size movements of the ground, and scientists use that data to study what is happening at the boundary between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates. But Adrian Borsa, a geophysicist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, noticed an odd trend in the data: Most of the stations have been gradually rising in the last couple of years, just when the region was drying out.
Earth’s surface moves up and down depending on the amount of water in the ground, in much the same way that a block of rubber moves down when you press on it and rebounds when you relieve the pressure. “It is the natural elastic response of most materials,” Borsa says. Earth will rise slightly as groundwater drains away and pressure decreases. But with rock, the effect is generally too small to see unless you look over great distances with highly sensitive gear.
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