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From NASA to Bouncy Houses: The Evolution of Inflatables

Inflatable Architecture has enabled the imaginations of environmental dreamers of all types. From figures like Buckminster Fuller to Ant Farm, inflatables promise to liberate people from the harsh conditions of nature or the tyranny of architecture. Originally developed by the US Military for radar enclosures on the arctic, inflatables were picked up by NASA before their secrets were bestowed upon the public who deployed them to solve all sorts of problems, from enclosing pools to stadiums.

"The Same Technology that Will Allow Us to Address Housing Challenges on Earth, Will Allow Us to Venture Off to Space": Interview with Jason Ballard of ICON

Founded in late 2017, named one of the "Most Innovative Companies in the World" in 2020, and selected as ArchDaily's Best New Practices of 2021, ICON is a construction company that pushed the boundaries of technology, developing tools to advance humanity including robotics, software, and building materials. Relatively young, the Texas-based start-up has been delivering 3D-printed homes across the US and Mexico, trying to address global housing challenges while also developing construction systems to support future exploration of the Moon, with partners BIG and NASA.

Featured on Times’ Next 100, as one of the 100 emerging leaders who are shaping the future, Jason Ballard, CEO and Co-Founder of ICON spoke to ArchDaily about the inception of the company, worldwide housing challenges, his ever-evolving 3D printing technology, and process, his partnership with BIG, and the future of the construction field on earth and in space.

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15 Architecture Projects for Life in Space

The Apollo 11 Mission, departed Earth on July 16, 1969, and touched down on the moon 4 days later. This moment marked a milestone for humanity and, to this day, makes us reflect on how technological progress is bringing us ever closer to life beyond planet Earth.

With the help of 3D printers, highly developed and fully automated constructive technology, we have compiled a selection of 15 architectural projects that demonstrate that life on the moon and beyond is closer than we've ever imagined.

BIG, NASA, and ICON Reveal 3D-Printed Research Habitats for Mars

Bjarke Ingels Group has collaborated with NASA and ICON to create Mars Dune Alpha, a 3D-printed research habitat that will provide long duration habitation for astronauts on missions to Mars. The 1,700 sq.ft. structure, which is currently located at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, is designed by the award-winning architecture firm, 3D printed by construction developers ICON, and will soon be home to NASA's future crew.

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Architecture on Mars: Projects for Life on the Red Planet

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February 2021 has been a historical month for Mars exploration. While humans have been exploring the red planet for well over 50 years, first landing on its surface in 1971 and then launching the first successful rover in 1997, this year has seen several firsts, namely the first time that three countries (China, United States, and the UAE) have launched three simultaneous probes.

The Red Planet: Design on Our Race to Mars

Space has long captured our imaginations. Looking to the ocean above us, writers, scientists and designers alike have continuously dreamed up new visions for a future on distant planets. Mars is at the center of this discourse, the most habitable planet in our solar system after Earth. Proposals for the red planet explore how we can create new realms of humanity in outer space.

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BIG and ICON Imagine Project Olympus, a Space-Based Construction System Developed with NASA

BIG has partnered up with ICON, a developer of advanced construction technologies, and with SEArch+ (Space Exploration Architecture) to imagine humanity’s home in another world. Working with NASA, the collaboration seeks to develop a “space-based construction system that could support future exploration of the Moon”.

AI SpaceFactory Launches TERA, a 3D Printed B&B

AI SpaceFactory, a multi-planetary architectural and technology design agency, launched TERA, a high-tech and green eco-home designed for off-grid living on earth. Inspired by their NASA-award-winning Mars habitat MARSHA, the first TERA accepts limited pre-bookings on Indiegogo and will be available starting March 2020 for one year before it is recycled and reprinted elsewhere.

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Big Bang Brainstorm: Be Inspired by NASA’s Free Images of Outer Space

Architects often look for inspiration in anything and everything around them: forms, volumes, artwork, music, nature… But some sources (and projects) are just out of this world. Literally.

NASA has created an online library of 140,000 high-resolution photos, videos, and sound clips, all free and available for download. Here is a selection of images for your dose of interstellar inspiration.

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AI SpaceFactory Wins NASA's 3D-Printed Mars Habitat Challenge

AI SpaceFactory has been awarded first place in the NASA Centennial Challenge. The multi-planetary architectural and technology design agency’s Mars habitat MARSHA was awarded the overall winner in the long-running competition series, which saw 60 challengers in total. The MARSHA habitat offers a glimpse into what the future of human life could look like on Mars, with a 15-feet-tall prototype 3D printed during the final phase of the competition, including three robotically-placed windows.

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SEArch+ and Apis Cor Win Latest NASA Competition for 3D Printed Habitats on Mars

SEArch+ and Apis Cor have won first place in the Virtual Construction level of NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Centennial Challenge, seeking to create sustainable shelters suitable for the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Using resources available on-site in these locations, the female-led, New York-based space research and design practice proposed the MARS X HOUSE, offering a robust, durable 3D-printed habitat using autonomous robotics.

Led by SEArch+ co-founder Melodie Yashar, the scheme employs evidence-based design for the form and constructability of the future habitat, intended for a crew of four to live and work on Mars for one Earth year. The habitat is designed to exceed radiation standards in order to ensure human health while connecting the crew with natural light and views of the Martian landscape.

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AI SpaceFactory Builds 3D Printed Mars Prototype for NASA

Architecture and technology company AI SpaceFactory has completed the autonomous construction of MARSHA, a proposal for a Martian surface habitat for NASA. The 3D printed shelter is one of five finalists in an international competition to design and build a habitat for a crew of four astronauts on a mission to Mars. AI SpaceFactory formulated their own material – a “Martian polymer” that can be made from matter found or grown on the planet.

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AERIAL FUTURES: The Next Frontier

A public event will be held to kick off World Space Week at AIA Houston on the evening of Thursday, Oct 4 as part of the AERIAL FUTURES: The Next Frontier think tank taking place in Houston between Oct 4-5, 2018.

Expanding Houston’s reputation as Space City, USA, Ellington Airport’s conversion into the Houston Spaceport will reiterate the city’s role as a front-runner in the space race of the 21st Century. As the most urban-centered commercial spaceport to date – Houston Spaceport is within a 15-minute drive of the central business district – this development will serve as a detonator in

TEN Arquitectos’ Research Building Celebrates NASA’s 60th Anniversary

TEN Arquitectos has released images of their NASA Research Support Building at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Marking the Agency’s diamond (60th) anniversary, the research center is to serve as “a new and contemporary public face for the home of the country’s most prolific aeronautic and aerospace innovations.”

The two-story, 60,000-square-foot research center, which has just broken ground, consists of a series of rectilinear massings positioned to optimize program adjacencies, creative interaction, and to accommodate public green spaces both indoors and out.

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Fundraiser Launched for Giant Burning Man Installation Made from 3000 NASA Space Blankets

Moscow-based designer Alex Shtanuk has launched an Indiegogo campaign for his 107,000-square-foot (10,000-square-meter) blanket woven from over 3000 NASA Space blankets, to feature at this year’s Burning Man festival at Black Rock City, Nevada.

“The Blanket” seeks to “bring the waves of the ancient Lake Lahontan back to Playa,” influenced by wind conditions to mirror surreal forms such as waves, mountains, or giant sculptures. With an exterior metallic coating, the blanket will reflect 97% of radiated heat, creating a cool, refreshing environment underneath for those seeking shelter from the hot Playa sun.

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NASA Endorses AI SpaceFactory's Vision for 3D Printed Huts on Mars

AI SpaceFactory has released details of their proposed cylindrical huts for the Planet Mars, designed as part of the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge organized by NASA. Project MARSHA (Mars HAbitat) was endorsed by NASA with a top prize of almost $21,000, one of five designs selected from a field of seventeen.

The competition asked participants to design an effective habitat for a crew of four astronauts to be located on the Red Planet, using construction techniques enabled by 3D printing. The submitted schemes were then ranked based on their innovation, architectural layout, and level of detail in BIM modeling.

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60th Annual NASA Convention 2018

The Annual NASA Convention is the annual get together of National Association of Students of Architecture. It is a four-day-long event held towards the end of January and is attended by around 5,000 students. Called Annual NASA when it was started more than fifty five years ago, the convention has gone on to become an integral part of all architecture colleges not only in India but as well as in the SAARC Nation.
With more than hundred events, NASA Convention offers a variety of fare to choose from for both the participants who are out to chill out and those

Foster + Partners and Branch Technology Win Phase 2 of NASA's 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge

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Courtesy of NASA HQ PHOTO

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.