We might not have reached Mars yet, but NASA already looks further into the future: how will houses on Mars look like.
Back in 2015, NASA launched a competition called the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge. They were looking for a solution to build houses on Mars for the first residents that get there. After three years of teams designing countless models, NASA chose only five contestants out of 18.
Together with the project partner, Illinois’ Bradley University, NASA judged all 18 models by using special software. The software needs details about the structures designed. To create a house on Mars, the teams had to consider many factors, everything from the thickness of the walls, heating, pressure sealing and many other details that could endure the harsh conditions on the Red Planet.
The five teams selected have to split $100,000 to continue the competition, with the two top teams receiving about $21,000 each.
The top team is Zopherus (Arkansas), with AI. SpaceFactory (New York) coming in the second place. The other three are Team Kahn-Yates of Jackson (Mississippi), SEArch+/Apis Cor (New York) and Team Northwestern University (Illinois).
The competition has three phases, with the first two ones being completed. Now that only five teams have been chosen, they will have to continue with the third phase. All teams have presented their projects which include autonomous 3D printing of their structures. The five teams will have to create a one-third-scale version of their designed habitat. The living space must measure 1,000 square feet and support four astronauts for a year.
Living on Other Planets
The Centennial Challenges program manager from NASA, Monsi Roman stated that the contestants came up with unique ideas that could help to make living on Mars (and other planets) possible:
“We are thrilled to see the success of this diverse group of teams that have approached this competition in their own unique styles. They are not just designing structures, they are designing habitats that will allow our space explorers to live and work on other planets.”
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.