Is this what human colonies will look like on Mars? NASA announces three finalists in its Martian habitat design competition
- Finalists split $100,000 and mark the final contestants in an ongoing competition to design Mars habitats
- They will go on to compete in a final phase of the competition for $800,000 set to take place in May
- NASA hopes that the competition will spark increased interest in achieving the first crewed mission to Mars
NASA has announced three finalists in an ongoing design competition tasking engineers to dream up sustainable dwellings that can be 3-D printed on Mars.
Finalists split a prize pot of $100,000 and include SEArch+/Apis Cor, out of New York who took first place, Zopherus from Rogers, Arkansas who came in second, and Mars Incubator out of New Have Connecticut who took the third spot.
The three contestants were chosen out of a pool of 11 candidates and were scored based on ‘architectural layout, programming, efficient use of interior space, and the 3D-printing scalability and constructability of the habitat.’
From here, according to NASA, teams will go on to compete in a showdown with a prize pool of $800,000 — the final competition phase slated to take place in early May.
The remaining teams represent the final contestants out of a competition started in 2015 through NASA’s Centennial Challenge — a program that engages the public to come up with innovative solutions.
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NASA has announced three finalists in an ongoing design competition tasking engineers to dream up sustainable dwellings that can be 3-D printed on Mars. Mars incubator design represents a modular look at space dwelling and allows for plenty of natural light.
In recent years, the topic of exploring Mars has gained traction, attracting not only NASA but the likes of private aerospace companies like SpaceX, owned by tech mogul, Elon Musk.
Recently, NASA also partnered with internet search giant Google to release data and satellite pictures of Devon Island in Nunavut, Canada — a site dubbed frequently referred to as ‘Mars on Earth’ — in correlation to its Haughton-Mars Project where the agency simulates Mars missions.
‘We are excited about this new partnership with Google on the Haughton-Mars Project and about the data products being released,’ said Dr. Pascal Lee, a planetary scientist with the Mars Institute and director of the NASA.
‘They allow us to share with the world some of the Mars-like wonders of the site and the fieldwork that we do,’
In other Mars related news, NASA also completed its first test flight of a helicopter that is set to explore Mars in 2021.
Zorpheus’ design would be constructed by an autonomous roving printer that prints a structure and then moves on to the next site
The unique shape of Search/Apis Cor’s habitat allows for continuous reinforcement of the structure. Light enters through trough-shaped ports on the sides and top
Scientist hope that the aerial vehicle will help them analyze the surface of the red planet to glean important information on conditions there.
In addition to lifting the vehicle inside an extremely thin atmosphere, scientists will also be tasked with operating the vehicle from exceptionally long distances — a feat they describe as extremely difficult.
SpaceX says it hopes to send humans on the first crewed mission to mars sometime in the 2020’s according to a recent announcement from Musk.
The mission will utilize the company’s cutting edge rocket ship dubbed the ‘Starship’ which was recently revealed to be sporting a gleaming, stainless steel design.
WHAT ARE NASA’S PLANS FOR A MANNED MISSION TO MARS IN THE 2030s?
Mars has become the next giant leap for mankind’s exploration of space.
But before humans get to the red planet, astronauts will take a series of small steps by returning to the moon for a year-long mission.
Details of a the mission in lunar orbit have been unveiled as part of a timeline of events leading to missions to Mars in the 2030s.
Nasa has outlined its four stage plan (pictured) which it hopes will one day allow humans to visit Mars at he Humans to Mars Summit held in Washington DC yesterday. This will entail multiple missions to the moon over coming decades
In May 2017, Greg Williams, deputy associate administrator for policy and plans at Nasa, outlined the space agency’s four stage plan that it hopes will one day allow humans to visit Mars, as well as its expected time-frame.
Phase one and two will involve multiple trips to lunar space, to allow for construction of a habitat which will provide a staging area for the journey.
The last piece of delivered hardware would be the actual Deep Space Transport vehicle that would later be used to carry a crew to Mars.
And a year-long simulation of life on Mars will be conducted in 2027.
Phase three and and four will begin after 2030 and will involve sustained crew expeditions to the Martian system and surface of Mars.