NASA’s Challenge to 3D Print Future Habitats on Mars

NASA’s Challenge to 3D Print Future Habitats on Mars

Right now, you’re looking at renderings
of human settlements on Mars. These designs were part of NASA’s 3D Printed
Habitat Challenge, a 4-year long competition aimed at engineering homes for another planet. The brightest architects and engineers from
across the globe put their skills to the test, culminating this year in a nail-biting finale. Two teams went head to head to print their
designs live in front of NASA judges. “Keep going keep going” “8..7..6..” Vying to prove they have what it takes to
build humanity’s home on Mars. Mars has captivated our imagination for hundreds
of years. It’s proximity to us, striking resemblance
to Earth, and potential to harbor life has made it the target of many robotic missions. But the surface of Mars is not as Earth-like
as it might seem. Every day the temperature swings a lot. It’s kind of like in the desert on Earth where
you have very very cold nights and very, very hot days, except it’s like you know, way worse
than that (laughs). Like minus 70 degrees celsius at night worse. The planet can’t retain heat, because its
atmosphere is very thin. On Mars, the atmosphere is less than 1% the
density of earth’s. So we can basically treat it like a vacuum. That, combined with Mars’s lack of a magnetosphere,
means there’s almost no protection against dangerous solar and cosmic radiation. To survive, we need a habitat that can provide
protection from this extreme environment. And because importing building materials from
earth could be prohibitively expensive, we’ll most likely have to build it there with on-site
materials using 3D-printing. At architecture firm AI Space Factory, Jeffrey
and his team came up with MARSHA. Printing a cylinder vertically is actually
the ideal shape for a 3D printer, because it doesn’t have any sharp corners. It’s a very gentle, predictable, safe shape
to build. The interior of the habitat is pressurized,
and that means that it wants to sort of blow up like a balloon. And so, you need a shape that can efficiently
hold back all that pressure. So, we knew that we wanted to reduce the diameters
at the ends to reduce the structural stresses at those spots. That kind of gives us this resulting egg shape. After deciding the shape, they had to decide
what to make it out of. The material is really where the rubber meets
the road. Because you have to choose a material that
is up for the challenge and you have to choose a material that you could conceivably make
once you get to Mars. And we chose the polymer option because it
conferred a number of advantages. For one it doesn’t require water. Water would be a very precious resource on
Mars. Another major advantage to the polymer type
we were using, which technically are called thermoplastics, is that you could reverse
their curing process if you needed to. So with these plastics you could reheat them
and remelt them and redeposit them. The team then carefully designed the floor
plan, optimizing each room for use by astronauts. They also added a rover docking port, windows,
and a skylight. We qualified for the first level, just barely,
and then we were able to catch up into the second construction level, where we got second
place. Once we got that award and that prize money,
we just threw it right back into the project. That brought us to the final week-long showdown. NASA invited the top two teams to print a
1/3 scale version of their habitat live, in front of a team of judges. All of the testing we did up until that point
was remote, and it was also just piecemeal. We never had a chance to print the actual
prototype that we needed to print before we needed to print it (laughs) I think one thing
we all knew was that when placed under the circumstances and forced to troubleshoot,
that we would figure it out. The question is, how much would we have to
figure out during the competition? (laughs) The teams had two days to set up their machines
before printing began. Then they had just 30 hours split over the
course of 3 days to print a complete habitat. In an ideal scenario, you basically press
the play button, and your building just builds itself. Of course, in reality, we were active supervisors
to this whole process. And the judges had stopwatches. Every time we had to make a change, even if
it was just a cautionary change, we would notify the judges. They would start the clock and count that
as an intervention. Jeffrey: You’re the guy? Judge: Yup I’m the guy. Have you started? Alright Jeffrey: We have started. The first day was maybe the most nerve-racking
because it was the foundation. The foundation is where everything else rests,
and if that’s not off to a good start, then your whole habitat may be tilted. So we were very closely watching how that
unfolded. Interviewer: So you were stressed? Jeffrey: Oh. The question is, did I show that I was stressed? I definitely had to stay cool because frantic
energy is contagious. (laughs) The second day was basically steady printing. We’ve gotten up to our highest we’ve ever
printed which is here. Previously we printed about this high. And now we’ve broken our own record. Tomorrow we’re printing the whole day, until
it gets to about 3 feet wide which is this. So that’s gonna be the diameter at the end. It’s got a ways to go. Interviewer: Good day? Jeffrey: Yes, it’s a good day. On day three, because we switched to a single
layer thickness, we were able to print the next seven feet in one day, which normally
took us two whole days to do. That was definitely the most intense day. As the clock ticked closer to the finish line,
there was just one task left: placing the skylight. We knew that the more layers we printed, the
better chances the skylight had of sitting on top because it was a tapering form. If we had stopped too soon, the skylight would
just fall through. “Stop, slow!” “Ready?” “Keep going keep going keep going.” We sort of released the skylight at 6:00 PM. “Keep going keep going, disengage!” And it almost stayed in the spot. There was some sort of uh premature celebration,
and then. (crash) Once the time was up, the two teams had to
surrender their designs. “Alright (claps)” After that it was like,
“What could I have done differently for that skylight to not have fallen?” I’m sure everyone was going through those
thoughts as well. And then, you know, you go to dinner with
your team, and celebrate just the madness of having gotten this far. The judges subjected the designs to a series
of structural tests, and then it was time to announce the winner. First place goes to team AI Space factory! [Applause] Being announced the winner was, it was, it
had felt like I graduated from a four year degree where I got accepted into this program,
and I now had my master’s you know. It was very much like a chapter in my life
that I felt was closing. Though the competition is over, the company’s
plans for MARSHA continue. It may be decades before humans go to Mars,
but the sustainable building technologies AI SpaceFactory developed for space might
soon find a home on Earth. TERA is a habitat for Earth, made from the
literal parts of MARSHA that we won the competition with. It’s going to be a fully functional home in
the town of Garrison, New York, just about an hour north of where we have our offices
in Manhattan. We’re doing it to show that we can build sustainably,
and we can build in a new way, and take space technology and apply it to Earth. We’re living in a very interesting moment,
where there’s a space race going on, but there’s also a climate crisis. And, these two things are very often pitted
against each other, as a dichotomy, as a choice. Either we go to Mars and go to the moon, or
we stay here and fix Earth. I really think that it’s a false dichotomy. There are ways that you can literally take
what you’ve done in space and apply it here, and introduce new ways of thinking about sustainability.

100 thoughts on “NASA’s Challenge to 3D Print Future Habitats on Mars

  1. I dont think companies have the technology to build an alien like futureistic architecture yet. Autonomous robots still look boxy not asthetically pleasing.

    IKEA: Let us introduce ourselfs

  2. stay here and fix earth with the Chinese pumping out greenhouse crap doubling it every decade, no go to mars with Elon Musk, because if he's going he must know something:)

  3. This is the first thing that came to mind when I saw those home

  4. “Decades before humans go to mars”

    NASA – mars by 2026

    Space x – people living in mars habitats by 2024

    People gotta be more optimistic. In a little more than 4 years from now we will have PEOPLE ON MARS

    The future is now

  5. too much retention will litrealy fallover on its self its supposto be made of martion reglith. the taller it is the slower the build process

  6. After you complete a successful series of fully-functional prototype homes here on Earth, if you can build a fully functional home here on Earth and eventually get the cost of it down to say… I dunno… $20,000 USD (outside of standard amenities that any homeowner can add themselves)… Then I think you guys might be onto something. But until or unless you can make the price dirt cheap (relative to regular home prices) here on Earth, and make them ultra fast and mostly automated to construct, you can forget about ever seeing that on Mars.

  7. Surprised they didn’t do honeycomb or print one of those origami .What about cosmic rays, radiation, and the lack of gravity.

  8. Waste of time and energy!Need a spaceship with technologies somewhat like star trek Enterprise or humans will die on the way! So where is that spaceship with fusion engine plasma shield anti gravity AI robotics etc etc….?!

  9. ну зачем показываете этого мужика показывайте саму технологию

  10. Why not have like a tent fire redundant fabric that sawed into it there is concrete and humectant powder. The whole thing lands air pump starts and desiccant adsorbs the humidity in the air and cures the concrete. It fools proof can create what ever shape you want with little power and no water. No precision required either just crush land the thing it will work.

  11. I feel like they could do this much easier with inflatable modules. You make a bubble within a larger bubble, then fill the gap between the two with Martian regolith to provide radiation shielding. If needed, the regolith could maybe be mixed with something to make it more structurally supportive like a cement or some expanding foam.

    I would replace windows with outside cameras and inside screens.

  12. I love the fact those dummies want to build their lives on Mars when we don't even know how low gravity will affect childbirth and child growth or skeleton and muscle development. I feel like I have to make a video listing all the reasons why colonizing Mars is a very very very bad idea for any person.

  13. no, the safest and smartest way to build a house in space would to use the soils and inject mushroom spawn into the soils, build your house like you would build a sand castle with the spawn in it.. then wait 4-6 weeks to let the mycelium to colonize it fully then scorch the inside(really hot like kiln), and just the inside because on the outside mushrooms will grow and feed ur dumb ass'es .. Not only will it be light weight and movable, it feeds you

  14. Build and send to Mars (i) a mixer that can form martian clay, (ii) a machine that can generate oxygen and water from raw materials, and (ii) one that can photosythesise edible carbohydrates (e.g. starch); then train 3-4 astronauts in building and engineering, and send them up there for a year. Fuel and return pods could also be send in advance. Ffs, can't be that hard.

  15. If this is for mars an it's harsh conditions why are they building them inside a shed an not outside side in the weather

  16. So first was. we will send people to mars by 2020, then 2022. then 2024… 2030…now "decades"? WTF? I'll probably die of old age before this happens.

  17. What you are reporting on is 100 years behind what they are really doing… check out Sphere Being Alliance here on YT

  18. Excuse my but doesn't a vertical structure cause a problem in a storm situation? What about tipping? This would have to be sunk into the ground for stability right?

  19. You FOOL!
    Global Warming is a complete scam created by the UN's IPCC to pilfer money from the United States Treasury. The last estimate of the money they want is roughly $3 Trillion. That is enough to bankrupt the US for a very long time. Then, humanity would basically stop advancing and the entire surface of the planet would turn into a gigantic garbage dump.

  20. any place that Deseret this terra home seems be ideal fit. so Arizona, Northern part Africa. might cool esmos in Alaska. try out in cold weather. mayor of Burrow Alaska try people go vacation but said lacked some infrastructure. if thing can print cold of mars. beat print alaska that far north might only have dirt work with. might print tub for train. that work train wanted do alaska. have train in tub in mars might good idea too.

  21. Interesting. I always thought a geodesic dome would be the most efficient design in terms of strength and stability to counter dust storms on Mars.

  22. The average temperature on Mars is -60 degrees Celsius. And this construction doesn't have any type of insulation. In addition, to build up a construction they should use Mars resources and not a polymer imported from the earth.

  23. One question tho… WHAT ABOUT THE HUGE RADIATION (radiation cause its rly thin walls and also it has windows) AND THE FACT THAT THERE ARE WINDOWS -.- (windows cause the temp change is so big that the glass should break one day) The mars bases should be built underground for best radiation protection and heat control they only was i could see this being used is if we terraform mars and then use those or if we had a shield against the radiation :v

  24. This is hardly living off the land in Mars, if you have to bring the polymers with you. The amount of human intervention should have been an automatic fail. A more realistic challenge would be to send AI controlled 3D printers into the desert and it has use what's there to make a building without any human input. Maybe that will come later down the line.

  25. Why be tech smart and science stupid. It's easier to live in Antarctica than Mars. We could orbit Mars with a permanent space station which we already know how to do. Mine Mars for water and minerals, study it, don't try to live there. The moon makes a much better base for exploring the solar system.

  26. Why we should colonise Mars where isn't life conditions,…why…!!!???
    The Earth, in his worst moments will be the best planet in this univers…
    Mars can be our garbage planet in case…
    I don't understand why mankind spend so much money for this shit red planet, instead of "Earth Protection"

  27. If I were in Mars I wouldn't want to live in these habitats if that is all there is to it. Just a 3D printed plastic wall. Don't look at all possible of thermal isolation, resist corrosion, UV radiation would wear it down in some months, any micro meteorites would break it right through, there are no door locks to prevent further degradation of atmosphere if any part of the structure is breached. These designs are better suited for earth.

  28. Is it really possible to live there? So we can't come out of these eggs? Otherwise, we'll be burned or frozen to death?

  29. Instead of 3d printing they could dig in the mars surface and make a Tunnel and close which is lot safer living underground ..and less radiation threat ….this 3d printing wont stay long less space and difficult to grow vegetables ….

  30. it was somewhat interesting until the agenda of sustainability came out that is void of facts but based on funding globalism! also the egg shape is cool, but my plan is better and simple.

    disclose our existing space factories on the dark side of the moon, use them to build a mother ship that has the capability to build cities on mars and to make a basic atmosphere that will level out the extreme hot cold cycle , use zero point energy and link with the classified project already on the planet to enhance the construction program. disclosure must come for this enterprise to work, the elite cant be the only population to live off world?

  31. 21 century will be long gone before humans live on Mars. I suppose having dreams doesn't hurt. Before humanity moves forward to these extremes living on Mars, humanity will have to over come capitalism to redevelop a new thinking in no class levels. Sci-fi will continue with or without my opinion…

  32. GREED ! is what is driving today’s manufacturing market, everything we eat buy and need is driven by Greed . Everything we eat and that we need , Then the Cost of buying or using it is Inflated because of Greed ! Money 💰 💵 hungry marketeers and entrepreneurs are led by Greed too take as much money 💵 💰 out of people’s pockets as possible .Packaging of food products are Inflated to look like you are getting more but in reality you are getting less for what you were buying , building and manufacturing materials are inferior and are sold to you at a premium .🧐✅

  33. I was with you until you parroted the fake climate change narrative. Learn more about our sun/stars before you make such claims.

  34. Why the f*** do people want to go to some other planet while we can still have a better chance to clean our planet and live in it.. .. whenever i watch these kinda videos the Earth feels like Home.. wish they invested all this money in purifying the Earth.. All of this just for recognition, money.. what not all other sh*t.. oh shame on ya people..

  35. Great. Maybe better than my concept of building domes on the moon with selective laser printing of the lunar regolith by robots powered by a nearby solar array that would later provide electricity for the dome.

  36. Amazing how when we unleash the smartest engineers & scientists upon a problem for NASA such as this we can build homes on Mars, but thanks to politician scumbags we won't even attempt this for the millions of homeless poor people here on our planet earth? Another disgusting display of decadence and denial towards humanities biggest problem.

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