NASA has selected five winners in an ongoing contest it has been running to get smart ideas about how to build a 3d-printed habitat on Mars.
The winners have passed level one of the 3D-Printed Habitat Centennial Challenge, which required developing about 60 percent of the design. Level Two will require greater complexity with 100 percent completion and an understanding of the hydraulics of each build. The teams will then create virtual structures and, on April 29, build them for real on the campus of Bradley University in Peoria, Ill.
The teams have different approaches and their video entries reflect that. First-place Team Zopherus, for example, highlights the autonomous robots that build out their modular structures. Using the Martian soil, their robots would build structures from the ground up.
The AI. SpaceFactory puts an emphasis on efficiently creating cylinders with multiple stories, building vertically. Their video is even titled, “Our Vertical Martian Future.”
Kahn Yates focuses on a design resembling a seashell, which they say puts a prioritization on one of Mars’ greatest dangers: dust storms. They also offer a garden area, which could provide food and recreation.
The SEArch+/Apis Cor Mars X unit takes its inspiration from Nordic architecture, with a focus on letting in as much natural light as possible.
Northwestern University’s approach focuses on human privacy, with a collapsable barrier in place between rooms and working/social quarters. Their structure, which offers a communal living space in a horizontal structure, differs significantly from other ideas, particularly the SpaceFactory contribution.
These winners created thoughtful designs that put an emphasis on different aspects of living on Mars. Sending them all to the next round allows NASA to better explore each facet of what would be the most isolated living conditions in human history.