The European Space Agency (ESA) announced January 31 that it is looking into building a moon base (pictured in an artist's conception) using a technique called 3-D printing.
It probably won't be as easy as whipping out a printer, hooking it to a computer, and pressing "print," but using lunar soils as the basis for actual building blocks could be a possibility.
"Terrestrial 3-D printing technology has produced entire structures," said Laurent Pambaguian, head of the project for ESA, in a statement.
On Earth, 3-D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, produces a three-dimensional object from a digital file. The computer takes cross-sectional slices of the structure to be printed and sends it to the 3-D printer. The printer bonds liquid or powder materials in the shape of each slice, gradually building up the structure. (Watch how future astronauts could print tools in space.)
Pictures released January 29 by Iran accompanied an announcement that the country had successfully sent a monkey into space. Reports from The New York Times and the Associated Press stated that the rocket went straight up to a height of about 72 miles (120 kilometers), just to the edge of space, and then came back down with its live payload.
Ebrahimi explained the discrepancy by saying that they had trained three to five monkeys to make the trip, but used the one that was best suited to the mission. He said that some of the pictures were archived shots of researchers preparing the monkeys for launch. (Related: "The Unsung Heroes of the Space Program.")
The two white spots on the right side of the photograph are where the sky crane's rockets blew away surface materials as it delivered the red planet's latest rover.
HiRISE also picked up Curiosity's track marks (darker double lines) leading away from the landing site, wandering over the Martian surface like a curious snail leaving a slime trail. (Learn how Curiosity sent home a self-portrait.)
Image courtesy U. Arizona/NASA
This new image of the Andromeda galaxy, taken by the European Space Agency's observatory Herschel and released January 28, reveal the temperature variations in the rings of dust swirling around our galactic neighbor.
Using a powerful infrared sensor, Herschel reveals that the center of the Andromeda galaxy hosts dust at warmer temperatures (colored blue) than the outer reaches of its rings, where dust hovering a few degrees above absolute zero reside.