NASA, MakerBot launch contest for 3D printed Mars Habitat

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posted on Jun, 6 2014 @ 09:29 AM
3D Printing will really change the world and it will have huge impact in Space.

The 3D printer company MakerBot in Brooklyn, New York and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have teamed up to launch the MakerBot Mars Base Challenge. The 3D printing contest seeks innovative ideas for a habitat that could support a crew of astronauts on the surface of the Red Planet. The Red Planet, at least in its current state, is hostile to life as we know it. It is frigid, prone to dust storms and bombarded with dangerous cosmic rays. To survive, future astronauts will need a sturdy, utilitarian home — perhaps made out of parts from a 3D printer, for on-the-spot construction.

A 3D printing Mars challenge

The MakerBot Mars Base Challenge is now open and accepting submissions until the end of the day on June 12. All entries must be uploaded to the Mars Base Challenge website, an open-source website for design ideas, with the hashtag #MakerBotMars. Winners will be awarded MakerBot products, with the 1st-prize winner receiving a Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer. As of June 5, there were 66 proposals submitted, many of them using some combination of dome-covered modules.

Yes, this is the future, and it will open the flood gates to exploring Space. One of the major obstacles to Space exploration is food; carrying enough of it and being able to preserve it for long distance trips. You can accomplish both with 3-D printing. Also, there's housing, medical, and replacement/ repairing of parts, all of which were huge question marks as to how to accomplish once off world on an alien landscape that now can easily be achieved with 3-D printing. But hey, I'll stop preaching to the quior; this is ATS! Check out the article and see the future unfold before your eyes.
edit on 6-6-2014 by lostbook because: paragraph add

posted on Jun, 6 2014 @ 11:09 AM
This seems a good start - plywood domes. They only require a couple of prefabricated pieces that interlock:

A half-hexagon for the base, and elongated hexagons to form the segments. they interlock to form the corners of the windows. Glass is simply replaced with heat-shrinking plastic.

edit on 6-6-2014 by stormcell because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 6 2014 @ 06:56 PM
Oic, we are going to have a rave on Mars. Good plan imho. I seriously think that one of the best solutions will be an inflatable structure. The walls will have to be of a thick and strong material, but it can be done. The problem is you are not going to have a large team that can focus strictly on building a structure, and the solution must be compact enough to allow for easy assembly. Even a dome like this with prefabricated pieces seems like it would be way too much work on the barren surface of Mars. And you do not want your astro-nuts, and that is likely what volunteers for a Mars mission are, lol, to be put in any danger from doing physical labor on the surface of another planet.

Heck, this is true even on the Moon, and that is a much easier target than Mars. This is how I see the problem anyway. I love finding solutions to many types of problems and I think that the best way to go in this instance is the simplest...inflatable structures. I've often wondered whether it is possible to build a portion of the spacecraft out of materials that could be disassembled and then used in the construction of a base. This would save on some weight. Of course you would have to keep these parts of the craft attached as you are travelling to the planet and landing, but this could be overcome. The landing I mean, as the travelling part is not a big deal considering there is no air resistance. You could fly a cube in space if you felt so inclined and possessed the technical know-how to get it up there in the first place.

posted on Jun, 6 2014 @ 10:53 PM
a reply to: stormcell

I really liked the idea of building a structure, but there are far too many variables with it.

What if we just used this?

Imagine, lay out the structure, connect all the various structures together and hose it down with Martian atmospheric water that is collected utilizing any number of ways?

And if it is possible one could go even further by engineering this glorified tent to withstand having some soil piled over it to protect it from the fierce Martian winds.

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