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Mars Base Best Projects

How will the houses on Mars look like? The participants of the unique 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge Design Competition offered their vision. NASA held this contest under specific rules: architectural concepts had to be creative, functional and user-friendly. Geografical position was also taken into account. NASA underlined that participants should take advantage of the unique capabilities of 3-D printing technologies. Three winning teams received a total award of 40,000$ in the first stage of the contest. 165 teams contended for the prize, 30 highest-scoring were judged at the Market Fair on Sept. 27.


Space Exploration Architecture and Clouds Architecture Office teams were awarded fist place and 25,000$ for their Mars Ice House design, wich is slightly reminiscent of an Escimo igloo. The authors of Ice House believe that water resousces are of primary importance for the planet colonization. That’s why water, frozen by Red Planet’s low temperatures, allows to create mulilayer ice dwelling, providing shelter from wether and radiation.
3-D printer will print ice layers, which will instantly freeze in the cold Martian atmosphere. PTFE membrane will prevent house from vaporising (PTFE has to be produced on Earth). Fiber optics and aerogel are also required.

Second and Third places

Second place and 15,000$ was awarded to team Gamma. Gamma offered to create the buliding’s basis from inflatable pneumatic frame. The frame modules have to be fixed on Martian ground by microwave radiation. Such a building has to be constructed by robots. Team Gamma’s house looks like an octopus, naturally complementing local harsh landscape.
Team LavaHive received third place. Their concept is extremly practical: they propose to use infatable modules and used up space ship parts. These elements are supposed to become “rooms”, connected by regolith passages. This desing is definetly not a breathtaker, but still very functional.
NASA has been working on man-rated Mars expedition for a long time. NASA scientists believe it is possible to launch such an expedition by 2030.

Image from NASA