The buzz surrounding the race to Mars has mostly focused on what explorers will do once they get there. But astronauts will spend significant time aboard the spacecraft transporting them there, leading to long-overdue speculation about plans for a shuttle.

Boeing recently unveiled its own plans for both a shuttle and a lunar outpost. The outpost has a dual purpose. First, it will reside in the Moon’s orbit, serving in a capacity similar to NASA’s Space Station. Secondly, the outpost will serve as a resting place for vehicles on their way to Mars when those missions finally begin. Not only are Boeing’s concepts visually appealing, but they use solar electric propulsion technology, making them a winner with environmentalists.

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The quest to make Mars habitable is ongoing, with scientists trying various approaches to setting up communities on the Red Planet. The latest of these ideas comes from NASA, where scientists have proposed a magnetic field to overcome the planet’s environmental challenges.

Using an artificial magnetic field, NASA believes the planet could shield itself against the sun’s rays. Crafting this artificial field would be quite a project, though. NASA has named the project Mars L1, proposing two large magnets that would hold inflatable structures in place to serve as shields.

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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections kill more than 11,000 people each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Bacteria that resist antibiotics cause great concern for the scientific community, leading them to continually study it.

In an effort to learn more about MRSA, NASA is sending resistant bacteria into space. By studying the way gravity affects these bugs, the medical community may be able to figure out how the mutation process works, which is the first step toward controlling that process.

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