Google Earth has released an update to its Timelapse feature, giving viewers a better look at the rapid expansion of the world’s urban areas between 1984 and 2016.
Originally released in 2013 in partnership with TIME and NASA, the update adds in four more years of data, as well as petabytes of imagery data from two new satellites, Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2, to provide clearer views of new developments and the recent effects of climate change on our natural environments.
Join David Nixon at the Architectural Association on March 2nd for an evening lecture and book launch for his new book – International Space Station: Architecture Beyond Earth – which is published by Circa Press on 1 March. This book offers the first comprehensive account of the Station’s conception, design development and assembly in space and its publication coincides with Tim Peake’s current mission to the Station.
"Recognizing that water is the building block to life, the team used a ‘follow the water’ approach to conceptualize, site and construct their design," said SEArch and Clouds AO. "[Our] proposal stood out as one of the few entries not to bury the habitat beneath regolith, instead mining the anticipated abundance of subsurface ice in the northern regions to create a thin vertical ice shell capable of protecting the interior habitat from radiation while celebrating life above ground."
Foster + Partners has been shortlisted among 30 other finalists in the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge organized by America Makes and NASA. The proposal calls for a 3D printed settlement built by pre-programmed, semi-autonomous robots who use regolith found on Mars' surface to construct dwellings that can house up to four astronauts each.
"The proposal considers multiple aspects of the project from delivery and deployment to construction and operations," says Foster. "The habitat will be delivered in two stages prior to the arrival of the astronauts."
NASA and the National Additive Manufacturing Institute (America Makes) have launched the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, an inaugural design competition offering $2.25 million in prizes. Part of NASA's Centennial Challenges program, the competition challenges entrants to design and build a 3D printed habitat for deep space exploration. "The future possibilities for 3D printing are inspiring, and the technology is extremely important to deep space exploration," said Sam Ortega, Centennial Challenges program manager. "This challenge definitely raises the bar from what we are currently capable of, and we are excited to see what the maker community does with it."
Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California has won Grand Prize in the NASA Tech Briefs magazine’s “Create the Future” contest for his entry, "Robotic Building Construction by Contour Crafting.” The revolutionary construction method was awarded for being a “major innovation” that could potentially 3D print entire neighborhoods in half the time and at 30 percent less cost than traditional building methods.
Though some have visions of using Contour Crafting (CC) to sculpt the moon's first settlements, Khoshnevis primary desire is combat the world's housing shortage by using the automated construction method to rapidly deploy housing in impoverished and disaster areas.
More information and an interview with Khoshnevis on CNN, after the break.
As revealed in an article on Gigaom, NASA has recently added an extra $500,000 into a collaboration with Tethers Unlimited, a company researching ways to 3D print and assemble structures whilst in orbit. Using this technology, their SpiderFab robots reduce the size of the rockets needed to launch materials into space, and also allow for much larger structures to be created than in any previous technique - opening up new possibilities for construction in space. You can read the full article here.
Three months ago, Commander Chris Hadfield captured the attention of millions by recording a cover of David Bowie's Space Oddity - entirely on board the International Space Station. The video was the culmination of five months of social media efforts to raise awareness and interest in current space programs worldwide, and it certainly seems that Hadfield succeeded in piquing the interest of at least a few future astronauts.
But for architects, something else probably stands out in the video: the ISS seems an extremely clinical and uncomfortable environment to live in for five months. The reasons for this are obvious: it is a highly controlled engineered environment; sending luxuries into orbit is expensive; the astronauts are there to work, and after all they are trained to cope in stressful and uncomfortable environments. However, with proposals for longer missions, such as a manned trip to Mars, as well as the continued promise of commercial spaceflight on the horizon, the design of living spaces outside of our own planet may soon become an issue which architects must get involved in.
Read on to find out about the challenges of architecture in space, after the break.
NASA, in cooperation with TIME and Google, has unveiled startling timelapse images of Earth from orbit collected by NASA's Landsat program since 1984. This program, created not for spycraft but for monitoring the way in which humans are rapidly altering the surface of the planet, consists of eight satellites that have collected millions of pictures in the course of two generations. When sifted through, cleaned up and stitched together, these pictures come together to create a high-definition slideshow that reveals some of the drastic changes our planet is undergoing - most notably through widespread urbanization.
Currently in the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Interim Design Center parking lot, students are constructing a 30 foot experimental structure that expands on the notion of housing astronauts in space. Funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the year-long research and experimentation project challenges students to design a vertical habitat capable of housing four astronauts in space for a period of 60 days. Not only is this an extreme case of micro-living, but to design a living quarters with no orientation, where walls, floors and ceilings are non-existent, is unworldly.