What if we could send a 3D printer and a robotic arm to space to construct landing pads, launch pads, radiation shields, access roads, and even houses, before a human set foot on Mars?
In 2015 NASA launched a project to find technologies that would use materials indigenous to Mars and 3D printers to fabricate houses. In Phase 1 teams were tasked with proposing a preliminary design and in Phase 2 they developed and printed new materials relevant to Mars geology. Currently, in phase 3 the challenge is to develop a high fidelity BIM model, hydrostatic testing and 3D printing and robotically autonomously assemble a sub-scale Mars habitat.
Our team has developed two key concepts that present several advantages. The first one is to print only with local materials on Mars, a unique technology developed at the Hebrew University. The second one is building the structure out of small bricks rather than a single continuous print. This concept presents benefits in redundancy, speed, structure and more.