The Mars habitats were selected in the third stage of NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge competition. Participating teams were tasked with designing and demonstrating the ability to remotely build a Martian habitat using modelling software. The winning entries were all awarded a share in an incredible £76,233 ($100,000) prize pot. A total of 11 teams participated in the NASA contest, but only three designs were victorious in Phase 3 of the challenge.
The winning designs, in descending order, were Team SEArch+/Apis Cor, Team Zopherus and Team Mars Incubator.
Points were awarded based on the habitats’ design, layout efficiency and the ability to remotely recreate on Mars.
NASA’s goal is to prepare a permanent base of residence on Mars before human crews take the first rockets to the Red Planet.
Each team also prepared a short video of their respective habitat and a 3D model, which could be taken apart to explore the habitats’ interiors.
NASA said in a statement: “Points were also awarded for aesthetic representation and realism.”
The first place prize of £25,886 ($33,954.11) was awarded to the New York-based Team SEArch+/Apis Cor.
Second place and a prize of £25,480.61 ($33,422.01) was won by Team Zopherus from Rogers, Arkansas.
Third place was secured by Team Mars Incubator from New Haven, Connecticut, who won £24,872.12 ($32,623.88) in the competition.
The final stage of the content will wrap up next month around the start of May.
NASA said: “The 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge will culminate with a head-to-head subscale structure print May 1 to May 4, 2019, and the awarding of an $800,000 prize purse.”
Team SEArch+/Apis Cor impressed judges with their winding, tower-like structure designed for “continuous reinforcement”.
Habitat renders show a twisting element running around the outside of the tower and lots of tiny holes thought to filter through light.
Team Zopherus, on the other hand, opted for yurt-like or dome-shaped habitats, with a diamond mesh-like construction.
he Martian habitats would be constructed by a robotic lander, which would 3D-print each individual element of the building, before moving onto a new area.
Team Mars Incubator came in last with a football-like design of four-interconnected orbs mounted on struts about the ground.
All three habitats were designed with the primary purpose of housing and sustaining astronauts as well as scientific laboratories.
The last design, for instance, contains a “bio-generation area for plant growth”.
NASA said: “In addition to aiding human space exploration, technologies sought from this competition could also lead to lower-cost housing solutions on Earth and other benefits.”