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Homesteading on Mars

When moving from one city to another, people rarely bring their house with them. They rent, buy, or build a new one. Astronauts have to bring everything they might need on their journey, no matter how small, which increases cargo mass and mission cost. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is asking: what if astronauts could simply use what they found when they arrived on a new destination like Mars? What if they could live off the land, and make tools, equipment, and even habitats with Martian dirt or a recyclable material?

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Flu Shot in Space Helps Understand Astronauts’ Immune Systems

It is that time of year when you see reminders to get your flu vaccine. For identical twin astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly, their flu shots will happen almost in tandem, but while one is orbiting the Earth at 17,500 miles per hour, and the other is on Earth. Scott will receive his flu shot aboard the International Space Station, and Mark will receive his on Earth shortly thereafter. Blood will be drawn from both brothers before and after the vaccination, as well as throughout the duration of the one-year mission to compare how their systems respond to the vaccine.

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Editor's Choice: October 2015

A habitat was developed that allows water recycling, air treatment, thermal control, and solids treatment and recycling to be performed in the walls of a radiation-shielding water wall. This game-changing method for mass reuse provides radiation protection, building materials, and structural elements for a habitat. The method can also be used in wastewater treatment plants, and removes the air, water, and waste treatment hardware from the usable habitat. Find out more HERE.

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Vegetation Essential for Limiting City Warming Effects

The urban heat island effect of a city has long been observed to raise the temperature of big cities by 1.8 to 5.4°F, a rise that is due to the presence of asphalt, concrete, buildings, and other impervious surfaces disrupting the natural cooling effect provided by vegetation. According to a new NASA study that makes the first assessment of urbanization impacts for the entire continental United States, the presence of vegetation is an essential factor in limiting urban heating.

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Hollywood Gets Real with NASA

“The Martian,” a movie that will be released this month, merges fiction and facts about Mars, building upon the work NASA and others have done exploring Mars, and moving it into the 2030s, when NASA astronauts are regularly traveling to Mars and living on the surface. NASA is already developing many of the technologies that appear in the film.

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Voyage to “New Horizons”

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft traveled more than three billion miles over nine-and-ahalf years, reaching the Pluto system in July. The mission will help us understand worlds at the edge of our solar system by making the first reconnaissance of Pluto.

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NASA Leads Development of System to Manage Drones

“The sky could become increasingly crowded as personal and commercial uses of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly called drones, become more popular.” That’s the assessment of Parimal Kopardekar, manager of NASA’s Safe Autonomous Systems Operations project. NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recognize that a UAS traffic management (UTM) system for low-altitude airspace is needed.

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