NASA has awarded three teams a total of $40,000 in the first stage of a competition to find ways to print extraterrestrial accommodation.
Competitors were challenged to develop architectural concepts that took advantage of the capabilities of 3D printing to produce houses on Mars using only local materials.
The winner of the competition "Ice House"
Teams were judged on many factors, including their design approach, the habitability of the end product and how easy it would be to print.
The first-place award of $25,000 went to Team Space Exploration Architecture and Clouds Architecture Office for their "Ice House" (pictured).
Team Gamma’s contribution
The Ice House would use "water as the core resource for future outposts on extraterrestrial bodies". It was submitted before NASA’s recent discovery that water is probably present in liquid form on the surface of Mars.
Second place and $15,000 was awarded to Team Gamma for its combination of foraging robots and modular structures; third place went to Team LavaHive, which used the shell of the spaceship landing vehicle coupled with an inflating pillow as the nucleus of its habitat.
Team LavaHive’s effort
The competition is the first phase of the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge. A $1.1m prize may be given to the developer of fabricating technology that would lead to prototypes being produced.
Top image: Team Space Exploration Architecture and Clouds Architecture Office with their winning cheque, addressed to "ICE HOUSE" (NASA)