The “Mars Ice Home” is a large inflatable dome that is surrounded by a shell of water ice. NASA said the design is just one of many potential concepts for creating a sustainable home for future Martian explorers. The idea came from a team at NASA’s Langley Research Center that started with the concept of using resources on Mars to help build a habitat that could effectively protect humans from the elements on the Red Planet’s surface, including high-energy radiation.
Langley senior systems engineer Kevin Vipavetz who facilitated the design session said the team assessed “many crazy, out of the box ideas and finally converged on the current Ice Home design, which provides a sound engineering solution,” he said.
The advantages of the Mars Ice Home is that the shell is lightweight and can be transported and deployed with simple robotics, then filled with water before the crew arrives. The ice will protect astronauts from radiation and will provide a safe place to call home, NASA says. But the structure also serves as a storage tank for water, to be used either by the explorers or it could potentially be converted to rocket fuel for the proposed Mars Ascent Vehicle. Then the structure could be refilled for the next crew.
Nextbigfuture – Physicists have achieved record levels of temperature reduction using the process of radiative cooling, by which heat is beamed from Earth’s surface into outer space. Zhen Chen and his colleagues at Stanford University lowered the temperature of a thermal emitter – a device designed to give out more heat than it takes in – to 42.2 °C below that of the surrounding air
Nextbigfuture – Jerry Pournelle is a famed science fiction author who also had an interesting technology career. Jerry Pournelle talks about China’s orbital tests of the EMDrive as a bigger than Sputnik moment. Jerry says, the question becomes, given the magnitude of this, why is it a surprise? We have 21 expensive intelligence agencies; not one of them knew the Chinese orbited an EM Drive? Of course it will be a while before we can do orbital tests. We have no rockets. That’s preparedness. Perhaps Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos can help? This is a signal larger than Sputnik. If the Intelligence Community knows about Russian hacking, why doesn’t it know about Chinese testing of a reactionless drive?