Engineering Minute

Engineering Minute – Connecticut Team Places In Top 3 For NASA’s 3D Printed Habitat Challenge

The Mars Incubator team, based out of New Haven, Connecticut, placed among the top three teams in Phase 3: Level 4 of NASA's 3D Printed Habitat Competition. The top three teams split a prize of $100,000 for creating a full-scale habitat design using 3D modeling software. The teams are challenged throughout three multifaceted phases to design and develop sustainable shelters for use on the Moon, Mars, or other planetary systems. The scope of the challenge involves creative use of 3D modeling, material development, 3D printing and construction. Entries were scored based on artchitectural layout, programming, efficient use of space, 3D printing scalability, and the ease at which the habitat could be constructed. The Mars Incubator's winning design consisted of four spaces: vestibule, primary living space, multi-purpose space, and a bio-generation area for plant cultivation. 



From the NASA article "The 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge is a competition to create sustainable shelters suitable for the Moon, Mars or beyond using resources available on-site in these locations. The multi-level 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge puts teams to the test in several areas of 3D-printing, including modeling software, material development and construction. In addition to aiding human space exploration, technologies sought from this competition could also lead to lower-cost housing solutions on Earth and other benefits.

The challenge, which began in 2015, is structured in phases, each with multiple levels.  Phases to date include:

  • Phase 1, (completed) the Design Competition, required teams to submit architectural renderings and was completed in 2015. ($50,000 prize purse)
  • Phase 2, (completed) the Structural Member Competition, focused on material technologies, requiring teams to create structural components. It was completed in 2017. ($1.1 million prize purse)
  • Phase 3 (current), the On-Site Habitat Competition, comprises five levels that test teams’ ability to advance technology to autonomously construct a habitat and will culminate in a head-to-head habitat print in April 2019.  ($2 million prize purse)

The multi-level competition structure enables more teams to be involved, and for teams to participate based on their strengths. Teams may enter or exit the competition at any phase or level, provided that they meet the challenge requirements."

Read more about the 3D Printed Habitat Competition at NASA.