Shaking up the construction industry, one startup is preparing to take its 3-D technology from Austin to the moon.
ICON, the Austin-based 3-D printing tech startup that is establishing the first neighborhood of 3-D homes for sale in East Austin, is teaming up with NASA and members of its Artemis Generation to create a 3-D-printed rocket landing pad made of materials found on the moon.
Members of the Artemis Generation, made of undergraduate students from 10 colleges and universities across the U.S., experimented with creating a device that helped solve the issue of excess dust lifting from a powerful engine taking off from the moon's surface. A solution was first proposed in 2019, and students found last summer that a 3-D printed Lunar Plume Alleviation Device worked best for the project.
With tech mogul Elon Musk's SpaceX and NASA saddling up for further lunar and space exploration, ICON will join the race as the technology behind the 3-D printed structures.
"This is the first milestone on the journey to making off-world construction a reality, which will allow humanity to stay—not just visit the stars," ICON's head of design Michael McDaniel told KXAN.
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Austin Nicholson was ahead of the curve when he got his vasectomy in September 2021, saving himself a long line as Austin-area doctors say the demand for sterilization has seen a “significant” spike since Roe v. Wade was overturned on Friday.
Nicholson, 25, said he would prefer to adopt children, had felt the Supreme Court decision coming for a while, and, wary of the consequences, he decided to pull the trigger and make an appointment.
“A big part of it was the political climate. We could both potentially face consequences and she would definitely face more consequences, which I also personally would not want,” Nicholson said. “I didn't want to be stuck in Texas and have a potential abortion on the mind when it's illegal.”
According to vasectomy specialist Dr. Luke Machen of Austin Fertility and Reproductive Medicine, the clinic received over 150 vasectomy appointment requests combined on Friday and Monday following the ruling. Typically, the clinic performs 45-50 vasectomies per month.
The Austin Urology Institute reported that they received about 70 calls in the first hour after the ruling was released. OBYN at Women’s Health Domain reported receiving over 100 requests from women interested in getting their tubes tied.
“I would say a significant number of patients who scheduled recently have mentioned the Supreme Court case,” Machen said. “A lot of guys have said they were thinking about having a vasectomy over the last year or so, and the ruling was the final push to get it done.”
The average patient at Austin Fertility who receives a vasectomy is about 37, though Machen said he has started to see an increased number of patients with zero children choosing to get a vasectomy. While they put together a study, Machen expects demand for the procedure to plateau but stay higher than before the ruling.
Machen said vasectomy is the most effective form of permanent birth control, requires only about a week of recovery time, is reversible with success rates of up to 95% and has no effects on sexual function or testosterone.
Nicholson said the procedure was less than $700, he was never in any pain, had very little recovery time and has never regretted the decision—in fact, he has happily recommended the procedure to friends.
“It helps me feel better knowing that I won't put a woman in that situation where she'd have to be faced with a potentially life-altering decision, or consequence even,” Nicholson said. “I actually have had three of my friends ask me questions about it and tell me that they were considering it.”
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