Here’s what NASA thinks Mars houses could look like

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They’ve awarded cash prizes as part of an ongoing competition.

NASA has selected five winners in an ongoing contest it has been running to get smart ideas about how to build a 3d-printed habitat on Mars.

The winners have passed level one of the 3D-Printed Habitat Centennial Challenge, which required developing about 60 percent of the design. Level Two will require greater complexity with 100 percent completion and an understanding of the hydraulics of each build. The teams will then create virtual structures and, on April 29, build them for real on the campus of Bradley University in Peoria, Ill.

The teams have different approaches and their video entries reflect that. First-place Team Zopherus, for example, highlights the autonomous robots that build out their modular structures. Using the Martian soil, their robots would build structures from the ground up.

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NASA is learning the best way to grow food in space

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Can gardens help astronauts go farther?

“Our plants aren’t looking too good,” astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted from the International Space Station on December 27, 2015. He was right: The attached picture showed four baby zinnias bathed in magenta light. Three of the four leafy stalks were discolored and curling in on themselves. The station’s garden was struggling to recover from a mold problem. It’s an issue familiar to terrestrial gardeners. And while on Earth, the problem means a trip to the local nursery for replacements, in space you can’t do that.

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Majority of Americans believe it is essential that the U.S. remain a global leader in space

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Despite the increasing role of private companies in space exploration, most believe NASA’s role is still vital for future.

Sixty years after the founding of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), most Americans believe the United States should be at the forefront of global leadership in space exploration. Majorities say the International Space Station has been a good investment for the country and that, on balance, NASA is still vital to the future of U.S. space exploration even as private space companies emerge as increasingly important players.

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NASA’s ‘impossible ‘ space engine tested-here are the results

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The first independent tests of the EmDrive suggest there’s a mundane explanation for the wildly controversial device.

Spaceflight is hard. Blasting heavy cargo, spacecraft, and maybe people to respectable speeds over interplanetary distances (not to mention the luxury of stopping at destinations) requires an amount of propellant too massive for current rockets to haul into the void.

That is, unless you have an engine that can generate thrust without fuel.

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‘A fantastic find’: Mars hides thick sheets of ice just below the surface

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The slope rises as high as London’s Big Ben tower. Beneath its ruddy layer of dirt is a sheet of ice 300 feet thick that gives the landscape a blue-black hue. If such a scene sounds otherworldly, it is. To visit it, you’ll have to travel to Mars.

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