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Scientists Say They've Found a Way to Make Martian Concrete

Before people are ready live on Mars for an extended period of time, we first need to figure out where they’ll live. A group of researchers believe they’ve found a way to make building materials from components readily available on the red planet. 

In a recent paper, Lin Wan, Roman Wendner, and Gianluca Cusatis of Northwestern University reported their novel idea for creating a sort of Martian concrete out of local materials [PDF]. They developed their material from synthetic Martian soil, composed of silicon dioxide, aluminum oxide, iron oxide, and titanium dioxide—all known to be on the planet's surface—and molten sulfur. (Abundant on Mars, sulfur's use as a molten bonding agent goes back to ancient India, Greece, China, and Egypt, the authors noted.) Together, the ingredients form a concrete the team claims could be used to build an entire village.

Unlike traditional concrete, this new type of material doesn’t require water to make. Most of the limited water that’s located on Mars is frozen, so finding ways to build without it will be useful for any future human visitors. The material has the added benefit of being completely reusable, so it can be melted down and molded into a new structure whenever needed. Its composition also holds up against salt, acid, and extreme cold. 

Last year, NASA sent out a call for 3D printable designs of habitats that could be used during extended Mars missions. Most of these concepts also proposed taking advantage of the planet’s soil to create building materials, but this marks the first time such a plan has been presented in detail.  

[h/t: Dezeen

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iStock
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architecture
One Photographer's Quest to Document Every Frank Lloyd Wright Structure in the World
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iStock

From California’s Marin County Civic Center to the Yokodo Guest House in Ashiya City, Japan, Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence spans countries and continents. Today, 532 of the architect’s original designs remain worldwide—and one photographer is racking up the miles in an attempt to photograph each and every one of them, according to Architectural Digest.

Andrew Pielage is the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s unofficial photographer. The Phoenix-based shutterbug got his gig after friends introduced him to officials at Taliesin West, the late designer’s onetime winter home and studio that today houses the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Taliesin, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

Higher-ups at Taliesin West allowed Pielage to photograph the property in 2011, and they liked his work so much that they commissioned him for other projects. Since then, Pielage has shot around 50 Wright buildings, ranging from Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, to the Hollyhock House in Los Angeles.

Pielage takes vertical panoramas to “get more of Wright in one image,” and he also prefers to work with natural light to emphasize the way the architect integrated his structures to correspond with nature’s rhythms. While Pielage still has over 400 more FLW projects to go until he's done capturing the icon’s breadth of work, you can check out some of his initial shots below.

[h/t Architectural Digest]

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Made.com
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Art
What the Homes of the Future Will Look Like, According to Kids
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Made.com

Ask a futurist what the house of tomorrow will feature and she might mention automatic appliances and robot assistants. Ask a kid the same question and you’ll get answers that are slightly more creative, but not altogether impractical. That’s what Made.com discovered when they launched Homes of the Future, a project that had kids draw illustrations of futuristic homes that served as the basis for professional 3D renderings.

According to Co.Design, the UK-based furniture retailer recruited children ages 4 to 12 to submit their architectural ideas. The doodles, sketched in pen, marker, and colored pencil, showcase the grade-schoolers' imaginations. Paired with each picture is concept art made with a 3D illustrator that shows what the homes might look like in the real world.

The designs range from colorful and whimsical to coldly realistic. In one blueprint, drawn by Ameen, age 10, a neighborhood of rainbow buildings and flowers float among the clouds. Another sketch by Ellis, age 7, shows a “home built to last” with titanium, bricks, a steel roof, and bulletproof windows. Some kids seemed less concerned with durability than they were with the tastiness of the infrastructure. Cherry-flavored bricks, candy windows, and a giant jelly slide were just some of the features built into the future homes. Sustainability was also a major theme, with solar panels appearing on two of the houses.

Check out the original artwork and the 3D versions of their ideas below.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of Made.com.

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