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NASA via Tumblr
NASA via Tumblr

These 3D Printable Habitats Were Designed for Life on Mars

NASA via Tumblr
NASA via Tumblr

Last May, NASA announced that they were seeking submissions for designs of possible habitats that could be used during extended missions to Mars. In order to achieve this using as few materials as possible, the one condition they gave was that all concepts be 3D printable. The finalists have been announced, and each design offers a fascinating vision of what life on the red planet might look like.

One structure is composed of a 3D-printed composite lattice that makes the outside resemble a modern art sculpture. Another uses a corkscrew design that bores into Mars’ Equatorial Frozen Sea, providing easy access to water and protection from harsh cosmic radiation. All concepts would be constructed using materials native to the planet, like rocky regolith and high iron content silica sand. That way astronauts could pack relatively light for their long mission to Mars, taking only blueprints and a 3D printer to construct their shelter.

Final contestants have the chance to win $50,000 if their design is chosen. What's more, the two teams with the best strategy for fabricating building materials will be awarded an even more impressive prize of $1.1 million a piece.

Even if these particular habitats never break ground on Mars, the contest is a great way to inspire out-of-the-box thinking about the particular challenges of life on the Red Planet. You can check out some of the final designs below, and visit NASA's 3DP Tumblr page for more details. 

All photos courtesy of NASA via Tumblr

[h/t: Popular Mechanics]

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Comics
The Origins of 36 Marvel Characters, Illustrated
Pop Chart Lab
Pop Chart Lab

No matter what their powers, every super hero has an origin story, from Spider-Man’s radioactive bite to Iron Man’s life-threatening chest shrapnel. In their latest poster, the designers at Pop Chart Lab have taken their infographic savvy to the Marvel Universe, charting the heroic origins of 36 different Marvel characters through miniature, minimalist comics.

Without using any words, they’ve managed to illustrate Bucky Barnes's plane explosion and subsequent transformation into the Winter Soldier, Jessica Jones’s car crash, the death of the Punisher’s family, and other classic stories from the major Marvel canon while paying tribute to the comic book form.

Explore the poster below, and see a zoomable version on Pop Chart Lab’s website.

A poster featuring 36 minimalist illustrations of superhero origin stories.
Pop Chart Lab

Keep your eyes open for future Marvel-Pop Chart crossovers. The Marvel Origins: A Sequential Compendium poster is “the first release of what we hope to be a marvelous partnership,” as Pop Chart Lab’s Galvin Chow puts it. Prints are available for pre-order starting at $37 and are scheduled to start shipping on March 8.

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iStock
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technology
The Design Tricks That Make Smartphones Addictive—And How to Fight Them
iStock
iStock

Two and a half billion people worldwide—and 77 percent of Americans—have smartphones, which means you probably have plenty of company in your inability to go five minutes without checking your device. But as a new video from Vox points out, it's not that we all lack self-control: Your phone is designed down to the tiniest details to keep you as engaged as possible. Vox spoke to Tristan Harris, a former Google design ethicist, who explains how your push notifications, the "pull to refresh" feature of certain apps (inspired by slot machines), and the warm, bright colors on your phone are all meant to hook you. Fortunately, he also notes there's things you can do to lessen the hold, from the common sense (limit your notifications) to the drastic (go grayscale). Watch the whole thing to learn all the dirty details—and then see how long you can spend without looking at your phone.

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