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2023 Year in Review: Space and Technology

To recap 2023, is taking a look back at some of the most interesting stories we’ve covered this year.
Today we’re looking at some of the year’s big stories of space and technology.

First Two-Story 3D-Printed House in the US

A close shot of the massive 3D-printer squirting out concrete.
When you think of 3D-printing, you may think of small objects. But three companies are working together to print something much bigger. They’re using a giant 3D printer to create what they say is the first two-story 3D-printed house in the US.

Creating a 3D Model of the Titanic

Image of the bow of the Titanic from a 3D scan.
Scientists have created the first full-sized digital model of the Titanic. The project is the largest underwater scan ever made. The model will allow scientists to study the Titanic in ways that were never possible before.

Beaming Solar Energy to Earth from Space

An image showing the idea of beaming solar energy down to Earth.
Imagine being able to use energy from the sun all the time, even when it’s night. That’s the idea that scientists at Caltech are exploring. They’re working on collecting sunlight in space and sending its energy to Earth.

Korean Robot Conducts Orchestra

Robot conductor EveR 6 - Front view, 2 players
Last Friday, a special event took place at the National Theater of Korea. A robot called EveR 6 led an orchestra in a performance of Korean music. Robots have led orchestras in other countries, but this was the first time ever in Korea.

Flying Taxis Are Starting to Take Off

Joby Aviation's aircraft in the air above a city with the sea in the background.
Imagine taking a flying taxi to the airport, or hopping over crowded city streets at rush hour, getting where you want to go far faster than you could in a car. Believe it or not, you might be able to do these things in an electric air taxi sooner than you think.

Indian Spacecraft Lands at Moon’s South Pole

A simulation of Chandrayaan-3 landing safely on the moon on August 23, 2023.
India’s space agency, ISRO, has successfully landed a spacecraft on the moon. It’s the first time any country has safely landed at the moon’s south pole. The landing is a huge success for India, which has been working on the project for years.

Robotaxis Move Forward, but Face Problems

Waymo autonomous vehicle on California Street, San Francisco, California, USA (2022)
Recently, fans of self-driving cars have gotten some good news, followed by bad news. Two self-driving taxi companies were given permission to expand their work in San Francisco. But a string of accidents has led to new concerns about how safe the cars actually are.

High-Tech Sails for Modern Cargo Ships

The Pyxis Ocean cargo ship sailing with two WindWings raised.
On August 21, a cargo ship traveling from Singapore to Brazil became the first to try out a new kind of sail. The sail is expected to save fuel and cut pollution. If it works well, similar sails could become common on cargo ships over the next few years.

US Astronaut Spends a Year in Space

Expedition 69 Flight Engineer Frank Rubio completes a Surface Avatar session in the Columbus Laboratory Module on board the ISS.
NASA astronaut Frank Rubio has set a new record for the longest spaceflight by an American. As of today, he has been in space for a full year, working on the International Space Station. Dr. Rubio broke the old record of 355 days in early September.

NASA Mission Brings Back Material from Asteroid

Lockheed Martin System Safety Engineer Victoria Thiem performs preliminary checks on the sample return capsule from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, shortly after the capsule landed at the Department of Defense's Utah Test and Training Range. The sample was collected from the asteroid Bennu in October 2020 by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft.
On Sunday, a capsule carrying samples of a distant asteroid landed safely in the desert in Utah. The samples, collected by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, are the largest amount of asteroid material ever returned to Earth.



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