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    NASA news: Space agency awards contract to test flying drones on Venus

    The US space agency challenged Colorado-based Black Swift Technologies (BST) to construct flying drones capable of withstanding Venus’s harsh atmosphere. The company from Boulder, Colorado, specialises in the development of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) but NASA’s incredible task could be the hardest yet. NASA's contract with BST calls for a number of remote aerial drones to soar in parts Venus’ atmosphere which are not too dissimilar to conditions back home. The proposed drone design envisions a “dynamic soaring” machine similar to many gliding aircraft on Earth.

    Jack Elston, company CEO, said: “While there have been a variety of systems proposed for upper atmospheric observation of Venus, the planet’s high wind speeds pose a significant design challenge. “Our solution will be designed to not only survive in the harsh wind environment, but also simultaneously perform targeted sampling of the atmosphere while continuously extracting energy, even on the darks side of the planet.” The surface of Venus is an incredibly inhospitable landscape due to the planet’s close proximity to the sun. Average surface temperatures peak around 467C, making Venus the hottest planet in the solar system. But between 31 miles (50km) to 40 miles (65km) above the surface the atmospheric conditions are fairly reminiscent of the skies above Earth. The temperatures and pressures on both planets are comparable which makes Venus a prime candidate for space exploration. But the planet’s atmosphere also suffers from an effect known as super-rotation which whips up winds speeds up to 220mph (360km/h). The super-rotation causes Venus’ atmosphere to circle the entire planet in just four Earth days.

    Mr Elston said: “Black Swift Technologies has provided aerial solutions for wildland fires, volcanic observations, tornadoes, and hurricanes – some of the most extreme phenomena on Earth. “This mission is a natural extension of our focus, only now we are concentrating on the extreme conditions of Venus.” But this is not NASA’s first trip towards the scorching hot planet. Since the 1960s at least 40 Venus-bound space missions have been attempted by NASA, Russia, Japan and the European Space Agency (ESA).

    On December 14, 1962, NASA carried out its first successful flyby of Venus with the Mariner 2 space probe. The Mariner 5 probe achieved the same result in 1967 and the Mariner 10 approached the planet in 1974. Since then, the Pioneer Venus 2 landed on the planet’s surface and beamed collected data back to Earth for over an hour in 1978. NASA’s last mission to Mars was the August 3, 2004, gravity assisted flyby of MESSENGER en route to Mercury.

    Read the original article here.


    A Family in France Becomes the World’s First to Live in a 3D Printed House

    The 1022 square feet house took a little more than 2 days to print, and has sparked interest in the construction community.

    The Ramdanis have become the first family in the world to live in a 3D-printed house. This family recently moved into a 3D-printed house in France and the news has created a lot of excitement throughout the world.

    The house is a four-bedroom property which serves as the perfect model for future projects. The aim is to make the entire concept of housebuilding significantly faster and cheaper.
    Could this impact the construction of future 3D-printed homes? Only future will tell! This new prototype of a 3D printed home is an architect’s dream come true. The highlights of this house are digital controls for the convenience of disabled individuals and the curved-wall designs that substantially alleviate the effects of humidity on the house.

    The following numbers are going to leave you staggered. The house took a little more than 2 days to print, in addition to another four months to add roof, windows, and doors to the house.
    The construction of the entire house cost around £176,000. This means that the cost of construction done by 3D printing is 20% cheaper than using conventional construction techniques.

    In addition to that, the entire process is much quicker than if you were to use traditional building solutions. The 3D printing team believes that they just might be able to achieve the feat of reprinting the same house in a day and a half.

    This house was made as a result of the collaboration between the University of Nantes, the city council, and a housing association. The 1022 square feet house can comfortably house a family of five.
    The council’s lead innovator, Francky Trichet commented that the primary goal of this 3D printing project was to ascertain if this kind of construction solution could become mainstream and be applied to different types of communal buildings. He now believes that this concept could potentially impact the construction industry.

    He says, “For 2,000 years there hasn't been a change in the paradigm of the construction process. We wanted to sweep this whole construction process away. That's why I'm saying that we're at the start of a story. We've just written, 'Once upon a time.'”

    The house is now being inhabited by Nordine Ramdani, Nouria Ramdani, and their three children. Nordine comments on the project saying, "It's a big honor to be a part of this project. We lived in a block of council flats from the 60s, so it's a big change for us. It's really something amazing to be able to live in a place where there is a garden, and to have a detached house.” The house is initially designed by a team of expert scientists and architects, after which the 3D printer does its job. It prints the layers of the walls from the floor and up. Then the builders fit in the windows, doors, and roofs and voila! You have yourself a 3D-printed home!

    Not just this, but the house is extremely eco-friendly with digital controls for the differently-abled. Rest assured, this brainchild of Benoit Furet from the University of Nantes is a significant leap in the arena of 3D printing solutions.

    Click here to view the original article.


    Automotive Additive Manufacturing Market to Reach $5.3 Billion by 2023

    Industry analyst firm SmarTech Publishing has issued a new report entitled “Additive Manufacturing in Automotive 2018” that examines the current market for automotive additive manufacturing, including prototyping and tooling applications, but focusing specifically on production of final parts.
    In the new report, SmarTech expects the overall automotive additive manufacturing market to reach $5.3 billion USD in revenues in 2023 and grow to $12.4 billion US by 2028.
    According to the report, the adoption of AM by the automotive segment for production purposes is going to mark an inflection point for additive manufacturing.
    While the market remains focused on prototyping and tooling, parts production will become the primary revenue opportunity by the end of the forecast period, surpassing prototyping, tooling, hardware and materials.
    Parts production including metal and polymer parts produced both internally by automotive OEM’s and in outsourcing. These are expected to be the primary revenue opportunity for the automotive additive manufacturing market driving the entire segment, totaling nearly $4.3 billion by the end of the forecast period.
    The report also cites new hardware from leading 3D printing vendors and its applicability to automotive part production: multi-jet fusion (HP), digital light synthesis (Carbon) as well as metal binder jetting projects from Desktop Metal, GE Additive and Stratasys.
    According to the report, major automotive OEMs have already formed partnerships with AM hardware OEMs with an emphasis on part production, which indicates the value they see from integrating additive manufacturing into their processes.

    Moreover, new software is enabling both optimized part design for AM and AM integration into the end-to-end production workflow.
    The full report can be found here.