Before humans could go to Mars, NASA recently announced a new plan on the planet. NASA has arranged living arrangements to design 3D printing houses built from the materials available on the Red Planet.
The space agency launched a design competition in 2015, asking architects and technology experts to design habitats suitable for humans to live in on Mars.
The houses had to be suitable for 3D printing as NASA wants Mars rovers fitted with large-scale printers to build them, ensuring the planet will be habitable for when humans arrive.
This month the winning design, titled ‘Marsha’, was created by AI SpaceFactory, a ‘multi-planetary architectural and technology design agency’ based in New York City.
The habitat is made up of cone-like buildings, 15 feet high and 8 feet in diameter. They are designed to be printed in just 30 hours and would offer a ‘tiny bubble of Earth on a distant world’.
Spiral staircases would connect four levels inside the pods, each of which is dedicated to certain activities.
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On the ground floor, there is a sealed hatch for entering and exiting the pod in space suits, as well as laboratories for the astronauts to work in.
The other levels include a kitchen, a garden for growing plants, room for exercising and recreational activities, and four ‘sleepy pods’, consisting of private living quarters with a bed and a desk.
Each level has a window to allow natural light into the pod while still keeping the crew safe from harmful solar and cosmic radiation.
To create the structures, AI SpaceFactory plans to use ‘an innovative mixture of basalt fiber extracted from Martian rock and renewable bioplastic (polylactic acid, or PLA) processed from plants grown on Mars’.
The design agency beat out 60 other teams to take first place in the competition and was awarded $500,000 for their innovative prototype.
According to CNBC, NASA said AI SpaceFactory’s use of biopolymer composite of basalt fiber and bioplastic ‘was found to be stronger and more durable’ than prototypes using concrete.
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NASA is reportedly aiming to have humans on Mars by the 2030s, after sending a rover up in 2020 to shed light on current weather, winds, radiation, and dust environment.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is optimistic about starting civilization on Mars and has expressed beliefs there could be a whole city up there by 2050 if we get to work soon.
In March, he tweeted:
It’s possible to make a self-sustaining city on Mars by 2050, if we start in 5 years & take 10 orbital synchronizations.
With big aspirations for Mars, it might not be long before AI SpaceFactory’s habitat becomes a reality!
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