What would your house on Mars look like? Now that scientists have discovered liquid water on Mars, it seems even more likely that humans could be living on the Red Planet on day. But even with water, living on Mars would be very different than living on Earth! We would need some special equipment to even begin setting up a habitat (place to live).
To help us prepare for life on Mars, NASA has invited people to enter their 3D Printed Habitat Challenge. 3D printing may be the best way to build on Mars, because the buildings could be made using materials found on the planet. It would be very expensive to transport building materials through space.
One of the favorite designs in the challenge is the Sfero Habitat. This house looks like a dome, and part of it is even build under the ground! And the best part of the house is, it can be printed by a 3D printer using the Martian soil.
The Sfero Habitat would be built with the help of robotic arms. First, a big rod with the arms attached would be drilled deep into the Martian soil. The soil of Mars has a lot of iron oxide, which the robotic arms would gather to use for the 3D printing. While one arm gathers the raw iron, the other arm will turn the iron into metal powder. That metal powder will then be melted by a strong laser to form the base of the building.
The robotic 3D printer would also make the furniture for the habitat, like beds and chairs, and can build different types of rooms—such a research areas or indoor farms. The design team thinks that just a few dozen robots would be enough to build a room for a whole colony of people!
If you want to see more of the entries in the NASA challenge, click here!
Update! The ICEHOUSE was recently awarded the Grand Prize in the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge.