Want to design a Mars base for Nasa? Now’s your chance (Wired UK)


DasDome by Pierre Meyitang
DasDome by Pierre Meyitang


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Would you like a 3D printer? Of course you would. Would you like
to collaborate with Nasa? Please, we won’t insult you while waiting
for an answer. Makerbot has launched a competition tailored for you
then, in collaboration with Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory: MakerBot Mars
Base Challenge
. It wants you to deliver inspiration for a human
base on Mars, considering future visitors will have to combat
extreme temperatures, radiation spikes, dust storms and the whole
you-can’t-breath-on-Mars thing. The brief provided is to design,
with all these considerations in mind, “a utilitarian Mars base
that can withstand the elements and maybe even make you feel at
home, despite being 140 million miles away from Earth, on average”.
And if you win, they’ll give you a MakerBot Replicator 2
Desktop 3D Printer.

Of course not every entrant will have the astrophysics
background required to tick all these environmentally challenged
boxes, but Nasa is looking for anyone thinking outside of the box
to provide another viewpoint, and possibly inspire the next
generation of astronauts that will live in these abodes one
day.

The competition opened on 30 May, and will close on 12 June, and
already there have been 70 CAD file submissions on Thingiverse.
Pierre Meyitang, an engineering graduate “just trying to make
things better through technology” has submitted the
somewhat beautiful DasDome
, a huge dome housing Mars-dwellers
surrounded by solar panel arrays that can fold in on top of the
dome to protect it from the elements. Ice from Mars is dropped into
the stainless steel spheres that contain steam powered electric
generators, to create energy for spinning turbines and heating up
the colony. “All parts have dual purposes,” he says.

Ryan from Florida says that with his base, you can “live in
style while on the Red Planet”. His green, black and red
steampunk-style design
 proves this, but it’s also
engineered to be elevated off the ground for wind deflection,
there’s a pond in the city centre to store fresh water and homes
are all located above agricultural plots — “If you’re stuck on
Mars, at least you’ll have a great view,” he writes. Less inviting,
but perhaps more practical, are Louis Fuentes’
underground homes
and Replicantnexus 7 makes the most of the
ship astronauts use to reach the Red Planet, salvaging its solar
panels and the air lock to engineer the first outpost on
Mars
.

This is not the first time 3D printing has been associated with
space living. The idea of 3D printing a home on Earth probably
became popularised around the same time astrophysicists started
talking about doing the same for the Moon. The European Space
Agency’s (ESA) has been working with architecture firm Foster +
Partners on a proposal for a 3D-printed moon base, and space architects Tomas Rousek,
Katarina Eriksson and Ondrej Doule have been working with JPL
scientists on something called SinterHab — melting lunar dust to form a block that a
spider-like robot can then use to build. Nasa is due to launch the first 3D printer into space this
year, so experiments can begin on printing in the challenging
conditions.

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Check out the
competition home back at Thingiverse here

6 June 2014 | 1:00 pm – Source: wired.co.uk
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