NASA May Turn To 3D Printing For Its Martian Habitats

nasa martian habitats

Scientists are looking towards 3D printing in order to raise its future Martian habitats.

Scientists are looking to set up a human colony on the Red Planet. But these Martian habitats will have to be based on some innovative solutions. As such, NASA turned to a seemingly unlikely practice.

Space agencies are looking to expand humanity’s area of outreach. As such, they are currently concentrating on getting man on Mars. As the latest missions have shown, this will be quite a feat on its own. But setting foot on the Red Planet will not be enough. As scientists are looking to set up a colony, they are also trying to determine the best way to do so.

A number of innovations have already been proposed. Some propose the use of dome-like structures. Others believe that man could live underground, at least for some time. But recently, NASA scientists have turned their attention towards using a new building method.

Their latest idea? Using 3D building in order to build Martian habitats. NASA is planning on initiating this Mars mission sometime in the 2030s. But in the meantime, it has set out with a very specific purpose.

The American space agency will be analyzing the potential living conditions of the Red Planet. It will do so as it is planning on raising shelters based on the local resources. As such, they will be trying to use any material they can find on the Red Planet.

This will make the mission more cost effective. Which will also allow them to make to invest more in the project in itself. In order to achieve the cost reduction, scientists are taking a closer look at the Martian soil.

Future Martian habitats may be built from locally extracted metal. Or more exactly, the scientists will be trying to determine how to extract this from the Martian ground. The such obtained resources will be then used in conjunction with the 3D technology. Together, these could create the tools necessary for sustaining human life on Mars.

NASA has reportedly been working with University of Southern California researchers. More exactly, with Behrokh Khoshnevis. Together with the University of Central Florida scientists, NASA identified metallic oxide.

Now, reportedly in collaboration with Khoshnevis, NASA will be putting this to good use. He is the creator of the CC or Contour Crafting. This 3D method can print a 2,500-square foot building. And it can reportedly do so in less than a day. But this is here on Earth.

The scientist has been reportedly collaborating with NASA since about 2011. Since then, they have been working on the idea of using 3D printing in order to raise the Martian habitats. But transporting material from Earth to Mars would cost some thousands of dollars.

As such, the detection of the metal oxide is more important than it may seem. This may work as a future building material for the first human colonies on the planet. And 3D printing may offer one of the easiest variants of raising the necessary buildings.

This technology could create building blocks. One that could be easily be assembled. These blocks could be composed of regolith. This is the metal oxide found in the Martian soil. Heated at 3,000 degrees F, it can have various utilizations.

For the moment, these new plans for the future Martian habitats are still ideas and theories. Many more plans, studies, and research would have to be made before such a technology could start being readily used.

But according to some scientists, 3D building in space could stop being such a bizarre idea. Even if, for the moment, there aren’t even any confirmed designs as to what the resulting buildings may look like.

Image Source: Wikimedia