Team Gamma/NASA

Getting to Mars is half the battle—sustaining life once there is the other. NASA and other agencies have previously tasked the design community with devising temporary shelters should Earthlings actually colonize the red plant. Those proposals (shown) almost universally make use of on-site materials and fabrication technologies, including 3D-printing. Material scientists at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Ill., recently took these ideas a step closer to reality with the development of a concrete that uses Martian soil and requires no water (which is scarce on the planet). The recipe is straightforward: melt sulfur, mix it with the planet’s soil, and let it cool. Previous attempts to use sulfur as a binder have resulted in concrete shrinkage in extremely cold temperatures, weakening the structure. The Northwestern team addresses some of those concerns in its mix, which has more than double the compressive strength of typical Earthling concrete, according to the MIT Technology Review. The fast-setting Martian concrete is also workable and can be melted down and re-used. Now we need a few architects willing to trade in their earthy commissions for projects that are, quite literally, out of this world. [MIT Technology Review + Northwestern University]

ICYMI: Natural resources as architectural capital. [ARCHITECT]

Doing a residential remodel? Check out national cost averages by region for each part of the job. [Remodeling]

Industrial designer Richard Sapper—whose work includes the 1979 Coban 9090 espresso maker for Alessi and the IBM ThinkPad—died on Dec. 31 in Milan. He was 83. [The New York Times]

The International Consumer Electronics Show took over Las Vegas this week and brought with it the latest gizmos and gadgets for the smart home. Among them is Samsung’s new Family Hub Refrigerator (shown above), which is fitted a internal cameras that photograph the fridge's contents each time the door is closed, effectively taking inventory. A 21.5-inch touch screen interface lets users see when their food supply is running low and order groceries for delivery. [Fast Company]

Autodesk’s A360 Collaboration for Revit is now available globally. [Autodesk]

A team of researchers at HRL Laboratories in California have developed a polymer-based ceramic that can be 3D printed into complex structures for applications requiring lightweight, heat-resistant, and durable materials. [Ars Technica]

A transparent polymer film developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology can absorb solar energy and release heat as needed. [Gizmodo]