Nov. 18, 2020, 12:10 p.m.View more articles
This month on Newsdesk: 3-D printed moon buildings are unveiled, flood barriers help protect Venice and researchers tackle deadly snakebites.
Astronauts will soon be heading back to the Moon, and this time, NASA plan to construct permanent buildings on the lunar surface.
However, due to the extreme conditions, traditional construction methods will be impossible to use in space, so architects have come up with a space-age solution – 3-D printing!
Using sand-like materials collected from the Moon's surface, a giant 3-D printer will create a structural ink. Nozzles on the printer will then slowly squeeze out layers of the building material, before it dries into a solid structure.
The finished buildings will then be ready to accommodate astronauts, as they settle into life on the Moon.
The Italian city of Venice has always had a close relationship with water. Situated in a lagoon, waterways have long been used to transport people and goods around the city.
However, Venice is also prone to flooding. Extreme high tides known as a ‘tidal surge’ sometimes flood the city, causing serious damage to people's homes and businesses – and climate change is making the problem worse.
Now, engineers have come up with a solution to limit the flooding: a flood barrier system. Made up of 78 bright yellow metal gates, the system consists of long barriers, with each barrier sitting at a different entry point to the lagoon.
When a tidal surge threatens to flood the city, the gates rise to the surface, blocking the flow of the incoming tide and stopping Venice flooding.
Venomous snakes bite millions of people around the world each year. Victims can usually be treated with antivenom drugs, but if the venom has more time to move through the body, victims can end up dying or becoming disabled.
If victims receive antivenom drugs quickly, they can usually be saved – but in remote parts of Africa and India, there are thousands of people who can't reach a hospital in time.
Now, scientists are extracting venom from snakes in a laboratory in order to analyse it. Building on this research, they hope to develop a pill that can pause the spread of the venom through the body, buying vital time for victims to access antivenom drugs in hospital.
If the research proves successful, these pills will enable millions of people to live and work safely alongside venomous snakes!
Learn more about whether we could someday live on the Moon by watching the Twig Film Colonizing the Moon.
For more great topical science content, visit Twig Science Reporter where you'll also find videos, transcripts and lesson support to accompany this article.