Last year concluded a contest held by NASA called the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge. The long-running competition, started in 2015, tasked participants with creating homes that would be viable to build on Mars.
The top prize ($500,000) went to AI SpaceFactory, a New York-based architecture and construction tech company focused on building for space exploration. Their dual-shell, four-level design is called Marsha. It’s neither a dome nor underground bunker. In fact, it sits fully above ground and looks like a giant egg.
The team deliberately chose the hive-egg shape, saying that it’s not only optimized to handle the pressure and temperature demands of the Martian atmosphere, but building it with a 3D printer will be easier because the printer won’t have to move as much. According to Singularity Hub, the home’s layout is like a multi-level townhouse, with some Mars-specific tweaks.
AI SpaceFactory collaborated with materials design company Techmer PM to come up with a mix of basalt fiber, which would come from rocks on Mars, and a renewable bioplastic that could be made from plants and grown on Mars.