A New Frontier for Architectural and Engineering Firms: NASA’s 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge
As NASA begins the planning stages for manned deep space missions, they are turning to architects and structural engineers to develop living environments for Earth and other planets that leverage 3-D printing technology. Are you up for an out of this world design challenge?
With plans for a manned mission to Mars well underway, as well as for exploration of Jupiter’s moon Europa and other destinations in our solar system, NASA and the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (America Makes) have issued a challenge to architects and structural engineers. The competition, called the 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge calls for architects and structural engineers to use 3-D printing technology to do the following
- Develop conceptual designs for housing on Earth, Mars, or elsewhere in the solar system
- Engineer fabrication methods and technology needed to use native materials for structural elements needed to build housing.
- Construct life-size model homes using indigenous and recycled materials along with 3-D printing.
For some Earthly inspiration, check out our blog post describing a full size 3-D printed pavilion along with a video.
A Challenge More Difficult than It Appears.
While at first glance, this challenge may appear to involve simply developing ways to build houses using 3-D printed components, extraterrestrial environments present their own unique challenges. For example, even though its surface composition is similar to Earth, Mars only has 38 percent of our planet’s gravity and much high levels of radiation. What are your ideas about how to confront these challenges? With $1.150 million in prize money, it might be worthwhile to consider expanding into this new design frontier.