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Five Developing NASA Projects That Could Have Large Impacts

NASA was created to beat the Russians into space, or, oops, to the moon. Afterward, it concentrated on commercial endeavors with the space shuttle. That's over, so what's happening with NASA now? The agency has tons of projects going on! For example, to reduce the mass of supplies a mission would have to take to Mars (or other places), robots are being taught to build structures with locally-found materials.

The news that a robot had successfully constructed a prototype launch-&-landing pad in Hawaii was received ceremoniously, as it helped pave the way for similar automated construction projects in space (Mars and the moon to be particular). The robotic rover, called Helelani, built the pad by assembling one hundred pavers made with locally available materials. The project is quite unique, using Mars and lunar material in the place of concrete.

This project was a collaboration between NASA and PISCES (Pacific International Space Center for Exploration) as part of a bigger program dubbed ACME (Additive Construction with Mobile Emplacement). Apart from the alien materials, the project also employs robotics as opposed to a human workforce. The general goal is to be able to use locally available materials on Mars and the moon to design and construct infrastructure.

That's just one project looking toward other planets. Read more about ACME and other NASA projects at Money Inc.

(Image credit: NASA)

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