See also endeavors like this one, learning to create a closed ecosystem on Mars... And these, that are a bit farther along than our little (but bolder) NIAC grants!
Speaking of which... and on a somewhat bigger scale... congratulations to Jeff Bezos and his team at Blue Origin, for their successful test launch of the New Shepard suborbital vehicle and capsule. It will be an important element of our renewed-confident adventures as a bold, interplanetary species.
Well, two space-ready telescopes with identical structure and mirrors, but lacking many components and any scientific instruments. The surprise gift revealed to us taxpayers an interesting truth -- that Hubble was based directly on a family of U.S. spy satellites. Should we be surprised, then, that a mirror originally designed to look downward at Earth suffered some problems, when it was repurposed to stare into deep space?
== Looking toward asteroids and the moon ==
Now news that Planetary Resource’s latest test prototype of systems for the Arkyd exploration probe was successfully lofted into orbit aboard the recent SpaceX crew resupply mission to the ISS. Huzzah.