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Sandcastles on Mars


Astronauts on a future manned Mars mission would need a place to live and work — something like the structure envisioned above. Here’s the thing, though: What would it be made of? Not stuff hauled from Earth — we’ll never have the payload capacity. NASA’s best guess is that it would be 3D-printed from Martian soil, which isn’t much like the stuff you garden in. It’s a kind of jagged sand called regolith.

I dug into off-Earth additive construction in my latest article for RedShift.

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