Archive for the ‘habitats’ category

Jun 15, 2018

Chinese satellite snags new views of Earth from lunar orbit

Posted by in categories: habitats, satellites

On May 20, China launched Queqiao, a lunar communications relay satellite for the upcoming Chang’e 4 lander and rover mission. On the way out to the Moon, it dropped off a pair of small satellites bound for lunar orbit called Longjiang-1 and Longjiang-2. The satellites weigh just 45 kilograms each and measure 50-by-50-by-40 centimeters. Their purpose is testing out future radio astronomy and interferometry techniques, and one also has a camera built by Saudi Arabia.

Unfortunately, Longjiang-1 had a problem and didn’t make it into lunar orbit. Longjiang-2, however, was successful, and sent home a few pictures! Check them out:

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Jun 14, 2018

A Dutch City Is 3D Printing The First Habitable Houses

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, habitats

A Dutch construction company is about to 3D print five actually habitable homes near the city of Eindhoven. But can the technique replace brick and mortar?

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Jun 13, 2018

Are solar panels a middle-class purchase? This survey says yes

Posted by in categories: habitats, solar power, sustainability

Too bad the middle class is shrinking!

The rate of growth in residential rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV) in Australia since 2008 has been nothing short of breathtaking.

Our new research suggests that the households most likely to join in the solar spree are those that are affluent enough to afford the upfront investment, but not so wealthy that they don’t worry about their future power bills.

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Jun 11, 2018

In desert trials, next-generation water harvester delivers fresh water from air

Posted by in categories: energy, habitats, sustainability

Last October, a University of California, Berkeley, team headed down to the Arizona desert, plopped their newest prototype water harvester into the backyard of a tract home and started sucking water out of the air without any power other than sunlight.

The successful field test of their larger, next-generation harvester proved what the team had predicted earlier in 2017: that the harvester can extract drinkable water every day/night cycle at very low humidity and at low cost, making it ideal for people living in arid, water-starved areas of the world.

“There is nothing like this,” said Omar Yaghi, who invented the technology underlying the harvester. “It operates at ambient temperature with ambient sunlight, and with no additional energy input you can collect water in the desert. This laboratory-to-desert journey allowed us to really turn water harvesting from an interesting phenomenon into a science.”

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Jun 11, 2018

Sweden distributes ‘be prepared for war’ leaflet to all 4.8m homes

Posted by in categories: habitats, materials

“Society is vulnerable, so we need to prepare ourselves as individuals,” said Dan Eliasson of the Swedish civil contingencies agency, which is in charge of the project. “There’s also an information deficit in terms of concrete advice, which we aim to provide.”

Defence pamphlet shows how population can prepare in event of attack and contribute to country’s ‘total defence’

European affairs correspondent.

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Jun 4, 2018

The Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Makes Tracks on Magical Mystery Tour of Different Rocks

Posted by in categories: habitats, robotics/AI, space

Update from a space robot rolling around Mars!

Sols 5073–5102

Opportunity continued exploring the south trough of Perseverance in May, still looking for evidence that explains just how this one-of-a-kind valley meandering through Endeavour Crater’s rim formed, and, along the way, helped the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission chalk up yet another first, linking with three relay orbiters in one Martian day or sol to send a pipeline of data home.

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Jun 1, 2018

World’s First 3D-Printed Concrete Housing Project to be Built in Eindhoven

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, habitats

The Dutch city of Eindhoven is to host the world’s first commercial housing project based on 3D-concrete printing, with the first of five planned houses due to start construction this year. The units were developed by a collaborative team including the Eindhoven University of Technology and will be purchased and let out by a real estate company upon completion.

The first house will be a single-floor, three-room house measuring 1000 square feet (95 square meters), to be followed by four multi-story units. The irregular shape of the buildings is based on “erratic blocks in the green landscape,” made possible due to the flexibility of form permitted by 3D-printing.

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Jun 1, 2018

Dandelion wants to play a role in home geothermal

Posted by in category: habitats

Not familiar with residential geothermal heating? No surprise. Chris Martin in Bloomberg explained that “Residential geothermal heating is uncommon, in part because the expense and effort to dig the wells make them costly to install in existing homes.”

Dandelion CEO Kathy Hannun told CNNMoney that “It’s a very niche technology that hasn’t taken off at all in this country.” Her Brooklyn-based company, Dandelion, is out there to make geothermal heating—extracting underground to keep homes warm— more affordable for homeowners.

On Wednesday, Dandelion launched the Dandelion Air as a home heating and system. Dandelion’s claims: it’s 4 times more efficient than any furnace on the market and almost twice as efficient as a conventional air conditioning system. So, when you go up to Dandelion’s web site there is one sole message and it reads loud and clear. “Geothermal heating and air conditioning so efficient it pays for itself.”

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May 31, 2018

You’ll soon be able to get a 3D printed model of your brain

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical, computing, habitats, neuroscience…/3D-printed-brain-medical-imagin…/

There are almost limitless possibilities when it comes to 3D printing. Design your own color-changing jewelry? Fine. Fabricate your own drugs? No problem. Print an entire house in under 24 hours? Sure! Now, researchers have come up with a fast and easy way to print palm-sized models of individual human brains, presumably in a bid to advance scientific endeavours, but also because, well, that’s pretty neat.

In theory, creating a 3D printout of a human brain has been done before, using data from MRI and CT scans. But as MIT graduate Steven Keating found when he wanted to examine his own brain following his surgery to remove a baseball-sized tumour, it’s a slow, cumbersome process that doesn’t reveal any important areas of interest.

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May 30, 2018

China invites international researchers to do science on its future space station

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, habitats, science, space, treaties

By the end of 2022, China hopes to have its biggest space station yet orbiting around Earth, and the country’s space agency wants other nations to use it. China is inviting all members of the United Nations to submit applications to fly experiments on board the future habitat, dubbed the China Space Station. It’s a major step toward international cooperation for China and its space program, which has mostly relied on domestic hardware and capabilities in the past.

“The China Space Station belongs not only to China, but also to the world,” Shi Zhongjun, China’s ambassador to the UN, said in a statement about the initiative. As a guide for the decision, Zhongjun cited the 50-year-old Outer Space Treaty, which maintains that the exploration of space should be peaceful and benefit all countries.

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