NASA floats $2.25 million 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge

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With the goal of creating safe and sustainable housing solutions on Earth and distant planets in the Solar System and possibly beyond, NASA is looking for novel designs of 3D printed habitats under its $2.25 million 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, registrations for which are already open.

Funded by NASA and organized by America Makes, and Maker Media, the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge consists of three areas of competition with the first area being the Design Competition. In this area, the organisers are asking competitors to use these elements in a habitat design that would ‘wow’ them.

“The brief calls for a structure that can support four (fictional) astronauts as they train for a mission to Mars”, the competition announcement notes. In this phase, organizers and NASA are looking for architectural concepts that rely on 3D printing, and which will provide for a 1,000 square-feet of living space for a crew of four.

“Their new adopted home should contain everything needed to comfortably sustain human life, including cooking areas, sleeping quarters and bathroom facilities. Their jobs as geologists, land surveyors, prospectors, scientists, biologists, & engineers should also be considered while creating this structure, as it will act as a prototype for the one that they’ll reside in while on Mars”, the habitat challenge brief notes.

Out of all the participants, thirty finalists will be chosen whose designs will be displayed at the New York City Maker Faire. A VIP judge panel and Faire-goers will pick the winners on September 27 with the top prize winner netting $50,000.

Next up is the phase two which will have two levels. In level 1, participants will be required to focus on the core 3D printing fabrication technologies needed to manufacture structural elements from regolith (indigenous materials) combined with recycled materials. Level 2 focuses on the 3D printing fabrication of a full-scale habitat using these same materials.

Interested participants much register for the challenge by July 15 to be eligible to compete in the design competition. For more information visit this site.