moon homes of the future by way of 3D printer, the 150 year old question of lung evolution

Foster+ Partners works with European Space Agency to put 3D print structures on the moon

The practice has designed a lunar base to house four people, which can offer protection from meteorites, gamma radiation and high temperature fluctuations. The base is first unfolded from a tubular module that can be transported by space rocket. An inflatable dome then extends from one end of this cylinder to provide a support structure for construction. Layers of regolith are then built up over the dome by a robot-operated 3D printer to create a protective shell.

To ensure strength while keeping the amount of binding “ink” to a minimum, the shell is made up of a hollow closed cellular structure similar to foam. The geometry of the structure was designed by Foster + Partners in collaboration with consortium partners – it is groundbreaking in demonstrating the potential of 3D printing to create structures that are close to natural biological systems.’

larger image

larger image

The ESA is not just floating this is some abstract idea, they, along with Foster, have already built  a 1.5 tonne mockup. They have also done some testing in a chamber that mimics conditions on the moon.

CT scanner helps answer 150-year-old question of lung evolution

One of the great problems of evolution is to understand how the major features of organisms have changed over great swaths of time. How did limbs evolve from fins? How did bird feathers arise from scales?

The lung is a major organ of great functional importance for vertebrates (animals with backbones). Since the mid-19th century, most biologists have thought that in living fishes, gas bladders — internal bags of air to which fishes can add or eliminate oxygen to control buoyancy — are simply a modified version of an ancestral pair of lungs. Others think lungs and gas bladders are completely different organs.

New research at Cornell using computed tomography (CT) technology has gone a long way toward showing that lungs and gas bladders really are variations of the same organ.

By proving that several ray-finned fishes, namely sturgeons and paddlefishes, as well as bowfin, have pulmonary arteries like those that supply the lungs of vertebrates, the researchers show that the common ancestor of all these fishes must have originally had lungs supplied by a pulmonary artery.

This is yet another example answering the question of irreducible complexity. Lungs are very complex organs that act in conjunctions with the heart, brain and vascular system, yet evolved from simpler structures that carried oxygen to cells. In Richard Dawkins The Blind Watchmaker, Dawkins notes how the eye evolved from cells, like pond microbes, that could tell the difference between light and dark. The foundation of sight.