What will they be like and who will design the future bases of Mars or the Moon? Five teams will distribute the $ 100,000 prize that NASA gives to those who present 3D designs of a base on Mars. It is a contest that NASA organizes together with the Bradley University of Peoria (Ilinois). They have selected the top five projects to be awarded the prize ($ 100,000) in the final phase of the competition to design a 3D printed habitat. These teams have successfully represented future houses on Mars, using specialized software, with their physical and functional characteristics. A panel of experts voted and the award was distributed based on the result. The teams that have gotten the best of it are Arkansas, New York and Mississippi.
The extraterrestrial bases of the future?
According to Monsi Roman, director of this NASA program, “We are delighted to see the success of this diverse group of teams. They have taken this competition with their own styles. They are not only designing structures, they are preparing habitats that will allow our space explorers to live and work on other planets.. It's exciting to see their designs come to life like bases on Mars. " Following the expert panel votes, the highest ranked project is Team Zopherus from Rogers, Arkansas, which will receive $ 20,957.95. Second, the AI SpaceFactory team in New York with almost the same figure: $ 20,957.24. Third the Kahn-Yates project, from Jackson (Mississipi) with 20,622.74. Fourth the SEArch + / Apis Cor of New York with 19,580.97 dollars. And fifth is from Northwestern University in Evanston (Illinois) with $ 17,881.10. As we see, a lot of equality.
As NASA's plans to explore space and other planets or satellites advance, bases capable of reliably supporting human life will be essential . But thinking about how to create a structure on the Martian surface is already a great challenge. First, what materials to use, how to get them there or how to take advantage of local materials. Then the atmospheric and climatic difference. This NASA contest, called the "3D-Printed Habitat Challenge," seeks to pose and solve these problems. And define the next bases on the Moon and Mars ... and beyond. All, by civil inventors capable of proposing and developing the necessary technology.
Three phases, since 2014
This contest started in 2014 and consists of three phases. The first one ended in 2015 and consisted of proposing architectural designs by computer. The second focused on materials technology and required participants to create structures and components. The third phase, in force, proposes to build scale replicas of the houses or bases . It has five variants: three of real construction and two virtual ones of the bases of Mars. In the virtual ones, the contestants use modeling programs to design the habitats, their structures and the systems they will contain. The real ones consist of using 3D printers to scale them one third.
"We are encouraging a wide range of people to come up with innovative designs to find out what a habitat on Mars can look like from different perspectives ." Says Lex Akers, dean of the Caterpillar College of Engineering and Technology at the University of Bradley and NASA partner in this challenge. “The virtual levels allow teams from high schools, universities and companies that do not have access to large 3D printers to remain part of the contest. They can even join those who do have access to said machinery for the final level ”.
This 3D Printed Future Foundation Challenge is administered by a partnership related to NASA's ambitious Centennial Challenges program and the University of Bradley. They have partnered with level sponsors from Caterpillar, Bechtel and Brick & Mortar Ventures. It can be followed in details here. And NASA's Centennial Challenge program is an important part of the agency's Space Technology Mission Directorate. They take it to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.