NASA has awarded $ 700, 000 in prize money for first and second places in the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, dedicated to creating printed Martian dwellings of the future. The winner, the AI SpaceFactory team, received half a million, and another $ 200, 000 went to a team of professors from the University of Pennsylvania. And although their developments will not soon be brought to life outside the Earth, both teams have already received offers to adapt their technologies for earthly realities.
In the final, teams had to build their Martian housing projects at least one third of their true size. The work was carried out using 3D printing technologies at a special test site in Peoria, Illinois. Only stones, dust and recycled products were allowed to be used as raw materials. The buildings had to be built in stages of no more than 10 hours each, so that the judges could carefully control all the details.
The winner was the MARSHA project - a building made of biopolymer basalt composite. Its authors took a radical approach - instead of resisting gravity and winds, they prioritized resistance to atmospheric pressure inside the building and to structural stress. This determined the shape of the dwelling - a tower with a minimum base area.
Inside MARSHA, there are four different levels, united by one gently curving staircase and window system. They serve as passive light sources, but also provide a 360 degree view. The wall material is resistant to radiation and is completely recyclable and recyclable. The team has already selected suitable terrestrial counterparts and is ready to start building buildings from construction waste and recyclable materials from plant crops. This project was named "TERA" and the team is now looking for sponsors to bring it to life.