Hey all you citizen inventors! On November 7, 2017, NASA opened team registration for Phase 3 of its 3D Printed Habitat Challenge – the On-Site Habitat Competition. Get a team together and grab this awesome opportunity to share your ideas – plus there’s a $2 million total prize purse.
If humans plan to live on Mars – and beyond – future missions won’t be able to carry all of the necessary building materials from Earth, so we’re going to need some innovative options for shelter. NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge is looking for ways to develop technologies to create such habitats on-site, and challenges citizen inventors to lead the way.
In other words, NASA wants America’s best and brightest to help them figure out how to build a house on Mars, using advanced 3D printing technology in the most efficient and sustainable way possible.
According to a NASA statement:
The goal of the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge is to foster the development of new technologies necessary to additively manufacture a habitat using local indigenous materials with, or without, recyclable materials. The vision is that autonomous machines will someday be deployed to the Moon, Mars or beyond to construct shelters for human habitation.
The 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge is divided into phases. The Phase 1: Design Competition called on participants to develop state-of-the-art architectural concepts and was completed in 2015.
The Phase 2: Structural Member Competition focused on manufacturing structural components and was completed in August 2017.
The now-open Phase 3: On-Site Habitat Competition challenges competitors to fabricate sub-scale habitats using indigenous materials with or without mission-generated recyclables, and offers a $2 million total prize purse.
Phase 3 has five levels of competition. Interested teams may register through February 15, 2018. Find full details, schedule and rules here.
Monsi Roman is program manager of NASA’s Centennial Challenges. Roman said in a statement:
The ideas and technologies this competition has already produced are encouraging, and we are excited to see what this next phase will bring. The solutions we seek from our competitions are revolutionary, which by nature makes them extremely difficult. But this only fuels our teams to work harder to innovate and solve.
Bottom line: On November 7, 2017, NASA opened team registration for Phase 3 of its 3D Printed Habitat Challenge – the On-Site Habitat Competition
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.