At this morning’s International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia, SpaceX founder and Lead Designer Elon Musk announced the most ambitious plans yet for the colonization of planets and satellites beyond Earth, including the establishment of a lunar base and a permanent Mars colony by 2022.
“The future is vastly more exciting and interesting if we’re a space-faring species than if we’re not,” said Musk during his keynote. “It’s about believing in the future and thinking the future will be better than the past.”
The government of the United Arab Emirates has announced the launch of the Mars Science City project, a $140 Million USD (AED 500 million) research city that will serve as a “viable and realistic model” for the simulation of human occupation of the martian landscape. Designed by a team of Emirati scientists, engineers and designers from the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in partnership with Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the 1.9 million-square-foot domed structure will become the largest space simulation city ever constructed.
The team of Foster + Partners and Branch Technology have been awarded first prize in the latest stage of NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, a $2.5 million multi-phase competition designed to generate ideas and advance technology for the construction of sustainable housing solutions “for Earth and beyond.”
After printing three cylinder and three beams the first two levels of Phase 2, Stage 3 asked teams to design and print a 1.5-meter dome using indigenous Martian soil and recyclable materials, envisioning how future habitats could be constructed on the Red Planet. Teams were required to develop the 3-D printing technology itself as well as the structural design for each dome. The competition also dictated each structure be built within a 22-hour time frame, using the specific materials, geometric tolerances and autonomous performance that would be demanded by the Martian landscape.
NASA has announced the completion of the initial printing stage of NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, awarding Foster + Partners | Branch Technology and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks as the two top-scoring teams from this round.
After Phase 1 of the competition (won by Clouds AO and SEArch) tasked architects and engineers from around the globe to imagine hypothetical concepts for the habitation of Mars, Phase 2 is challenging designers to manufacture actual, 3D-printed objects using techniques that could be employed to create shelters on a future mission to the red planet or beyond.
If an architecture firm is lucky, it can hit two birds with one stone on a single project—for example, prioritizing both historic preservation and energy efficiency. But a team at KieranTimberlake, based in Philadelphia, is aiming for four ambitious goals with its pro bono project, the Mars City Facility Ops Challenge.
Architects Fátima Olivieri, Efrie Friedlander, and Rolando Lopez teamed up with National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), NASA, and the Total Learning Research Institute (TLRI) to create a virtual working city on Mars—one that might reap multiple rewards.
https://www.archdaily.com/867605/kierantimberlake-is-using-virtual-reality-to-design-a-home-for-future-life-on-marsKim A. O'Connell
After NASA’s discovery of water beneath the surface of Mars earlier this year, and the subsequent critical and popular success of the movie The Martian, it's safe to say that the planet named after the God of War is all the rage. Those revelations have led to speculative looks at how our neighboring planet could be colonized from numerous designers, such as Norman Foster.
Many of those plans, including those of SpaceX founder Elon Musk, involve dumping Earthen construction materials onto the alien surface, potentially starting an inclination for pollution of our new world before it is even occupied. Spanish architect Alberto Villanueva of IDEA Architecture Office saw this as an opportunity for design to intervene. Using Martian soil and the fungus mycelium, Villanueva proposes a strategy utilizing 3D printing and bioluminescence that has gained the attention of both NASA and the European Space Agency.
Developed by scientists led by Lin Wan at Northwestern University, this "Martian concrete" is just one of many scientific developments that will be required for the increasingly popular goal of sending humans to, and eventually colonizing, the Red Planet (apparently the un-colonized Moon is already old hat - just ask Matt Damon).
"Recognizing that water is the building block to life, the team used a ‘follow the water’ approach to conceptualize, site and construct their design," said SEArch and Clouds AO. "[Our] proposal stood out as one of the few entries not to bury the habitat beneath regolith, instead mining the anticipated abundance of subsurface ice in the northern regions to create a thin vertical ice shell capable of protecting the interior habitat from radiation while celebrating life above ground."
Foster + Partners has been shortlisted among 30 other finalists in the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge organized by America Makes and NASA. The proposal calls for a 3D printed settlement built by pre-programmed, semi-autonomous robots who use regolith found on Mars' surface to construct dwellings that can house up to four astronauts each.
"The proposal considers multiple aspects of the project from delivery and deployment to construction and operations," says Foster. "The habitat will be delivered in two stages prior to the arrival of the astronauts."