NASA has given further updates in its mission to bring 3D construction to print to Mars with the publication of the latest results t 3D Printed Habitat Challenge.
The penultimate level of the challenge, Phase 3: Level 4, has been completed, where NASA has been awarded the top three teams; SEArch + / Apis Cor; Zopherus and Mars hatchery, a share of $ 100,000. The level focused on the Virtual Construction Completion competition, which required teams to design off-world habitats on a full scale using 3D modeling software.
It was launched in 2015 and managed in partnership with the Bradley University, Bradley, Illinois, the Habitat Alliance is a competition to print 3D of sustainable structures for Mars using the resources on site available on the planet. With the competition, NASA aims to “promote construction technology needed to create sustainable housing solutions for the Earth and beyond”.
Innovative schemes for sustainable 3D printing in space
NASA chose the best 3D models from three teams from eleven competitors. The records were scored based on different categories, including architectural design, programming, efficient use of internal space, and the viability of 3D printing and how constructive the habitat was. Additional points were also given for the aesthetic representation and realism of the models. As part of the Complete Virtual Construction competition, teams prepared short videos detailing their designs alongside small 3D printed models that displayed the interior of their structures.
The $ 100,000 prize purse was distributed between the top three teams. In the first place was SEArch + / Apis Cor, a team in New York, which took away $ 33,954.11 for the main prize. Their design focuses on continuous structural reinforcement capability thanks to the shape of the design. It also includes trough ports on the side and end of the building to allow light to pass through.
Team Zopherus of Rogers, Arkansas, won the second prize of $ 33,422.01. This scheme relies on an autonomous suspended 3D printer to build. After 3D printing one structure, then the 3D printer will move on to another site and start building separately.
Mars Marshal from New Haven, Connecticut, came third, winning a total of $ 32,623.88. It has been aimed at establishing a safe and secure environment for human life on Mars, it is divided into four volumes with different purposes, having been linked by bridges.
NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge Stages
The 3D Printed Habitat Challenge is structured in periods with multiple levels, each focusing on different 3D printing areas to test the teams. This includes modeling software, material development and construction. The competition started with Phase 1 in 2015, a Design Competition where teams presented the architectural details of their proposed structures, with a prize prize of $ 50,000.
Step 2, theStructural Members Competition’Completed in 2017, and focused on 3D printing material technology, set tasks for teams to create structural components for their 3D printed buildings. This stage of the competition included a $ 1.1 million prize fund.
Finally, the current stage of the competition, Step 3, the Site Habitat Competition, which tests the teams on the construction of their 3D printed habitats automatically. This stage includes a total of £ 2 million prize awards across five different levels. With the $ 100,000 phase from Phase 3 over, the whole 3D Printed Habitat Challenge will end in the team's end-to-end 3D printing structures on 1st May-4th 2019, with an award fund of $ 800,000.
NASA starts with 3D printing
The aim of the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge is to achieve NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate to produce and develop ideas and practices for space and global exploration. Outside the 3D Habitat Printed Antenatal Challenge, NASA has made a number of other developments and initiatives to incorporate 3D printing into its practices. It has explored the 3D printing potential in space to reduce the cost of spare parts and enable future production of space and space, as part of its in-space manufacturing scheme (ISM). NASA has also installed the Refabricator by the US aerospace company Tethers Unlimited Inc. on the International Space Station (ISS) to achieve this goal further.
Furthermore, NASA has also allocated $ 2 million to its Mahmooda Sultana scientist to develop t Multi-sensor 3D printed devices for space exploration, as well as developing and printing the new copper-based alloy for recent use t rocket drive components.
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Image concerned showing the 3D 3D model design of the team SEArch + / Apis Cor. Image via Team SEArch + / Apis Cor.