The 3D Printed Mars Habitat Design Contest Reveals Stunning Designs
Mars has been in the news quite a bit lately. Just last week, NASA confirmed that water can 'flow' naturally, followed by the release of the move The Martian.
Now -- the winner of the 3D Printed Habitat Design Challenge, a design contest sponsored by NASA and America Works has been announced.
The Challenge sought innovative designs for a four-person Mars habitat design 3D printed from materials local to Mars.
New York studios SEArch (Space Exploration Architecture) and Clouds AO (Clouds Architecture Office) took home the top prize for their igloo-like design, beating out some incredible designs and ideas.
- Ice House
- Vertical Design
- ETFE WIndows
- Nested Design
- Level 1
- Oxygen Gardens
- Level 2
- Level 3
- Crew Spaces
- Level 4
- Robotic Construction
The ICE HOUSE took home top honors in the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge for Mars contest sponsored by NASA and America Makes. The Mars habitat design contest sought innovative designs for a habitable four-person base 3D-printed from materials indigenous to Mars. New York studios SEArch (Space Exploration Architecture) and Clouds AO (Clouds Architecture Office) took home the $25,000 top prize for their space igloo-like design.
A vertically oriented lander, which contains the mechanical services of the habitat, is the core of the design. The habitat’s stacked levels are organized around core activities within the lander, combining private and communal interior spaces. Once the lander has deployed the inflatable ETFE membrane, pre-fabricated bridges unfold from within the lander, creating ‘pockets’. A spiral stair at the core of the lander provides circulation to the upper levels of the habitat, while simultaneously offering the crew a means for exercise when ascending levels.
Where the ice shell thins, large ETFE inflatable windows filled with radiation shielding gas seemingly make the space feel much larger while at the same time framing the views of the martian landscape.
“ICE HOUSE is born from the imperative to bring light and a connection to the outdoors into the vocabulary of Martian architecture — to create protected space in which the mind and body will not just survive, but thrive,” write the designers in a project statement.
Made up of a series of nested domes, the ice shell also stands out from its competition because of its transparency and above ground location. The result creates a livable environment that connects the crew with their surroundings.
The first level consists of:
- Main Airlock
- Rover connections
- the Intermediate Containment Zone, a 'front yard', if you will, that thermally separates the living areas from the rest of the hab.
Between the lander core and the ICE HOUSE interior is a vertical hydroponic garden -- the hab's ‘park’ as the designers call it.
While supplementing the crew’s food and oxygen, the gardens also enable the growth of experimental crops. In addition, vertically orienting the gardens will give the crew contact with natural plant life wherever they go inside the habitat -- a benefit to both their physical and mental well-being.
The hab's second level has areas for:
- a wash room/personal hygiene space, and
- a greenhouse
The third level is reserved for the crew with four staterooms and another personal hygiene space.
The interior is printed as a series of excavated or “hollowed-out” spaces to form the walls and divisions of the habitat volume. The curved rooms help create an illusion of space, making a small space feel larger than it is.
The fourth, and final level, is a communal living space consisting of the kitchen and ding areas.
The habitat is constructed remotely using specially design 3D printing robots - the iBo.
These bots use a triple nozzle to dispense a composite of water, fiber and aerogel along layered rings, printing a spectacular light-transmitting lens-like form that is structurally sound, insulated and translucent.
Want to see the other designs? You can find the top 30 designs here...
What do you think of this 3D Print Mars Habitat design? Share your thoughts and comments below.