May 16, 2020

How NASA's Mars 3D Printed Habitat Challenge can be applied to Earth

NASA
Technology
3D Printing
Manufacturing
Nell Walker
2 min
How NASA's Mars 3D Printed Habitat Challenge can be applied to Earth
Last year, hundreds of aspiring architectural designers submitted concepts to NASA for its Mars 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, with 30 finalists being ju...

Last year, hundreds of aspiring architectural designers submitted concepts to NASA for its Mars 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, with 30 finalists being judged at the 2015 New York Maker Faire. The number was narrowed down to three, with cash prizes offered for the furthering of the teams’ respective projects, but one company – RedWorks – while not a winner, is determined to continue development of its habitat design.

It is based upon the buildings created by early humans out of natural materials, and is structured like a nautilus shell. The internal structure of the Mars shelter is a spiral which burrows into the ground, with different levels earmarked for different uses. The team is continuing to work on and tweak the structure, to ensure that it would be able to endure pressure of the ground around the lower levels and wind erosion against the upper level.

RedWorks is set to begin the testing of its Mars Habitat Spinoff technologies this year, which is the first phase of its Made for Mars programme, developing the existing habitat engineering for use in consumer applications. This is to fully utilise the advances the team has made and show how they can be applied to life on Earth as well as on Mars.

RedWorks firmly believes that 3D printing of large structures can be used to provide sustainable, affordable housing, and because the buildings are designed for an inhospitable landscape, they should prove extremely durable on Earth.

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Jun 8, 2021

IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery

IMF
Manufacturing
COVID19
Musk
Elise Leise
3 min
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) claims that while markets are rising and manufacturing is coming back, it’ll push for global immunisation

After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022

Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery. 

Lingering Concerns Over COVID

Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high. 

Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery? 

IMF: Current Boom Could Falter

Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”. 

Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”. 

Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.

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