NASA backs designs for 3D-printed homes on Mars

 edition.cnn.com  8/2/2018 1:47:40 PM 
This article was originally published by The Spaces, a digital publication exploring new ways to live and work.

Research and architecture studio AI Space Factory has designed a 3D-printed house for the surface of Mars -- and it looks like a beehive.

Dubbed the Marsha Project, the vertical dwelling was dreamt up for NASA's 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, and has been endorsed by the agency.

 AI Space Factory designed a 3D-printed house for NASA's habitat challenge.

AI Space Factory designed a 3D-printed house for NASA's habitat challenge. Credit: AI SpaceFactory/Plompmozes

Each 'hive' can accommodate four astronauts and can be 3D-printed in situ using a static construction rover and materials gathered from the surface of the Red Planet, including basalt and renewable bioplastic. Marsha's vertical design alleviates Mars' atmospheric constraints by minimising movement of the construction rover across unfamiliar terrain, allowing it to print while static.

 AI Space Factory designed a 3D-printed house for NASA's habitat challenge.

AI Space Factory designed a 3D-printed house for NASA's habitat challenge. Credit: AI SpaceFactory/Plompmozes

Explains the practice: 'Where structures on earth are designed primarily for gravity and wind, special conditions on Mars point to a structure optimized to handle internal atmospheric pressure and structural stresses: a vertical container with a minimal footprint.'

 AI Space Factory designed a 3D-printed house for NASA's habitat challenge.

AI Space Factory designed a 3D-printed house for NASA's habitat challenge. Credit: AI SpaceFactory/Plompmozes

The cylindrical dwellings comprise an outer shell, which is tethered to the surface of the planet (to guard against strong winds), and an internal shell which houses living spaces. These are set across four levels, with a wet lab on the lower level, kitchen and dry lab above, and the top two floors for recreation. Bedrooms are conceived as semi-enclosed sleeping pods that offer privacy.

A large water-filled skylight caps the dwelling and filters light down through the height of the building.

AI Space Factory will now construct a 1:3 prototype of the Marsha dwelling as the next stage of the project. Watch this space...
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