Future Mars Astronauts May Live in a 3-D Printed Bubble Made Out of Martian Soil

Monday, 14 September 2015 - 1:01PM
Space
Technology
Mars
Monday, 14 September 2015 - 1:01PM
Future Mars Astronauts May Live in a 3-D Printed Bubble Made Out of Martian Soil
NASA predicts that astronauts will land on Mars in the 2030s, and when they do, they'll need accommodations. A new 3-D printed habitat from French company Fabulous is designed to use Martian soil in the printing process, and promises sustainable housing for manned missions and possibly even human colonies on Mars.

The "bubble house" is a sphere (or a sort of mushroom shape) that appears to be a dome, as it is partially underground. Two shells would form the outer wall, which would be separated by a layer of water from melted permafrost. The construction of the house would begin with a single drilling rod that would drill into the surface of Mars and extend two robotic arms that would collect iron oxide from the surface and use the material to print the shells layer by layer.

Future Mars Astronauts May Live in a 3-D Printed Bubble

The arms would also collect permafrost to be melted and form the water layer between the shells, which would protect against solar radiation. Fabulous founder Arnault Coulet believes the water layer can serve as a "permanent psychological reminder of the main element of the mother planet – water constituting a sort of protective amniotic fluid for humans." This sounds a little Freudian for our taste, but the protection from radiation seems like a good idea.

Early concepts show an upper and lower level connected through a spiral staircase, in which humans could grow plants inside the aboveground dome and sleep downstairs in the underground compartment. The team of designers, scientists, architects, and 3-D printing specialists has determined that Gale Crater would be the ideal site for these habitats, as there is a high concentration of iron oxide in the soil and a possible layer of permafrost below the surface.

Fabulous pitched this idea as part of NASA's 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge, which seeks ideas for "sustainable housing solutions for Earth and beyond." As it almost entirely uses materials from Earth's surface for the construction of the habitat, the bubble home seems like the perfect candidate, although it's unclear whether they can win a prize, as the contest is technically only open to American participants. We'll find out on September 27, when the top 30 submissions are judged and a $50,000 prize is awarded at the Maker Faire in New York City. 

Via Dezeen.
Science
NASA
Space
Technology
Mars
Mars Astronauts May Live In 3-D Printed Bubble Made From Martian Soil

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