This design from a New York-based team won first in the semi final of NASA's competition to create sustainable shelters suitable for the Moon or Mars.

  • NASA has chosen three finalists in its competition to design a structure that could house humans on the moon or Mars.
  • The structures need to be able to be 3D-printed using materials that are already on the planet.
  • The designs will go head-to-head on May 1, with R11 million up for grabs.
  • Here is what NASA's favorite designs for 3D printed homes on Mars look like:
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

NASA has spent four years looking at designs for habitats that could be 3D-printed on the moon or Mars, and has selected its favorite three designs.

NASA's 3D-Printed Habitat Competition launched in 2015, looking for structures that could be built autonomously using materials that are already on the planets.

The top three teams will go head to head on Wednesday, printing 3D scale models of their designs in competition for $800,000 (R11 million) in prize money. The winner will then be announced on May 4.

NASA said it's trying to find the technology that is "needed to create sustainable housing solutions for Earth, the Moon, Mars and beyond."

One design features smalls ports that let in natural light

SEArch+/Apis Cor's design includes views of the Martian landscape.
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

New York-based Team SEArch+/Apis Cor won first place in the semi-finals of NASA's competition, which required teams to make their design with modeling software.

The team said their design lets them use "indigenous, Martian materials to form a pioneering and durable habitat supporting future human missions to Mars."

It is designed to protect humans from radiation and prioritize natural light and views of the Martian landscape as part of "celebrating human life."

SEArch+/Apis Cor's entry to NASA's competition prioritizes natural light and living spaces for humans.

The habitat includes living areas and multiple laboratories, a kitchen, a water tower, and vertical gardens that have plants which would function as filters to provide drinkable water.

This video shows how it would be constructed, and what it would look like inside:

Another design would be constructed by an autonomous rover

Team Zopherus designed its structure to be protected from radiation and harsh temperature changes.
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

The design by Arkansas-based Team Zopherus would be printed by an autonomous rover that it says could protect the structure from the harsh atmosphere. Zopherus say they would aim to create Martian concrete from on-site materials to create a hard shell for the structure.

The team described their design as "inspired by biology" and said that it could easily be expanded by adding more modules.

It is designed to prevent the structure from cracking as temperatures on Mars vary wildly, and includes a radiation shield. The main hub that connects the other modules is, like SEArch+/Apis Cor's design, filled with plants and natural light. The team envisions the main hub also serving as the docking space for the Mars Rover.

Team Zopherus' design includes four bedrooms with storage.
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

This video shows how it would be constructed and how it would look:

The third and final team created a structure with four distinct zones

Mars Incubator's design for a human habitat.
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

Connecticut-based team Mars Incubator created an orange-colored structure that connects four distinct zones with bridges.

One of the four zones is where humans prepare to visit the planet outside, while the others contain multi-purpose spaces and space for growing plants. The largest structure is where crew can sleep and prepare food.

The design by Mars Incubator includes designated areas for analysis and research.
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

Mars Incubator's video shows its layout and how it would be built:

Receive a single WhatsApp every morning with all our latest news: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa: