3D printing is changing the way we design and make things here on Earth, even the buildings we live in. But this technology also offers groundbreaking potential for building projects outside of our little green planet.
York-based architecture and tech firm AI SpaceFactory has designed one of the most intriguing 3D-printed marshals we've ever seen.
While most Martian settlements focus on low-lying domes and underwater structures, the MARS Habitat (MARSHA) project is a vertical, egg-shaped structure optimized for internal atmospheric pressure and structural stresses.
AI SpaceFactory's design plan uses an In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) technique that involves harvesting and 3D printing with material derived directly from the material surface of Mars. By using the ISRU method, the team wants to eliminate the expensive dependence on rockets to deliver building materials.
The development team is working on a mixture of basalt fibers to be extracted from Martian rock and PLA material grown on Mars. This unique fiber material has excellent tensile strength and protects against radiation, while recyclable PLA offers dimensional stability and low conductivity.
The project was awarded the second prize of the "Centennial Challenges: 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge" by NASA and is sponsored for future development
MARSHA Project: New Vision for a Mars Settlement
The architectural design AI SpaceFactory's project promotes the idea of developing "human-centered habitats" on the red planet. Although the environmental conditions on Mars require designers to adopt a different approach to designing habitable structures, the MARSHA project aims to integrate familiar human characteristics into an alien-like structure.
The ground floor of the structure has a garage that acts as an interface to external systems and exploration activities as well as a supporting "wet lab". On the next floor is the 34 square meter MARS Habitat with a communal kitchen and a dry lab.
The third floor consists of cabins, sanitary basins and a hydro-cultural garden. Finally, the top floor is a skyroom for leisure activities and physical activity. There are windows on each floor.
As the vertical structure can deal with the conditions of Mars, AI SpaceFactory has also found some innovative solutions. MARSHA has a dual-shell system that prevents the room from expanding and contracting due to extreme temperature fluctuations on Mars. This allows the interior a light and airy feel that reproduces the conditions of an earthly house.
We all know that life on Mars would be a difficult experience, but the MARSHA project seeks to bring the comfort of the earth to this alien-Mars settlement. And with 3D printing technology and ISRU at the wheel, the dream of inhabiting another planet seems more realistic day by day.