NASA living on Mars with 3D Printing
Recently NASA announced the 5 winners of its 3D Printed Habitat on Mars competition.
From a 3D printing perspective, this seemed to be successful of implanting the idea that 3D printing is going to be the dominate technology of space construction.
My favorite was the autonomous walking 3D Printer that resembles some type of fantasy monolith. I think this is much more practicable than it seems because it leverages the fact that Mars has little gravity. I also liked its resource gathering strategy of using an army of smaller robots to gather raw materials. Overall, there were a few good ideas and I think a lot of benefit would be had by combining some of the insight into a single project. Also, teams seemed to focus on odd things such as maximizing the space of strength of a structure, which don’t seem to be much of a concern on mars.
It still seems to me that few teams overcame the GCR problem. I liked one of the proposals about angling the viewing windows and it does seem to make a lot of sense to build inside of basin. Also, though it wasn’t really a consideration in the competition. I think energy constraints are going to be more challenging than people think. Any scheme that does not provide for a way to build energy generation capabilities is doomed.
It seems to me that 3D printing should therefore have several different types on Mars. One designed for converting materials into structures and another designed for manufacturing smaller tools/equipment and another for producing power plants.