NASA and its partners are holding a $3.15 million competition to build a 3-D printed habitat for deep space exploration, including the agency’s journey to Mars. The multi-phase challenge is designed to advance the construction technology needed to create sustainable housing solutions for Earth and beyond.
Phase 1 of the competition ran through Sept. 27, 2015. This phase, a $50,000 design competition, called on participants to develop state-of-the-art architectural concepts that take advantage of the unique capabilities 3-D printing offers. The top 30 submissions were judged, and prize money was awarded at the 2015 World Maker Faire in New York.
Phase 2 is now open and challenges competitors to demonstrate a recycling system that can create structural components using terrestrial and space-based materials and recyclables.
Phase 3, which is currently under development, will focus on fabrication of complete habitats and will follow completion of Phase 2.
The competition is now in its final phase: the On-Site Habitat Competition. There are three construction levels and two virtual levels. At the virtual levels, teams must use Building Information Modelling (BIM) software to design the habitats. Finally, at the construction levels, the teams must be prepared to autonomously 3D print the elements of the habitat.