ICON partners with NASA to create 3D printed Mars habitat
Austin-based ICON, the developer behind the city’s first 3D printed homes, is bringing its building technologies to space once again with a 3D printed habitat known as Mars Dune Alpha.
In a press release, the company said on Friday it had secured a subcontract through Jacobs to support NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate to build the 1,700 square foot structure. Made by the same technology that brings 3D houses to life, the habitat is intended to simulate a “realistic Martian habitat”.
Mars Dune Alpha is made with ICON’s Vulcan building system, the same it uses to 3D print houses. (ICON)
Designed by architectural firm BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, Mars Dune Alpha is part of NASA’s Exploration Analog Study of Crew Health and Performance, which is a sequence of three mission simulations one-year Mars surface to take place at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston from fall 2022.
Although this structure is a simulation, it could be the future of construction on Mars using additive construction technology, which is the whole process of building a structure from materials produced on-site, because the Sending building materials on multiple flights would be too expensive.
CHAPEA will assess NASA’s space food system, participants’ physical and behavioral health, and performance results for future long-duration and exploration-class missions to Mars.
“This is the highest fidelity simulated habitat ever built by humans,” said Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO of ICON. “Mars Dune Alpha is intended to serve a very specific purpose: to prepare humans for living on another planet. We wanted to develop the most faithful analogue possible to help humanity’s dream expand into the stars.”
The ICON version of life on Mars will look a bit like a sci-fi movie: the rectangular, utilitarian structure is designed with four private crew quarters adjacent to facilities and cultivation areas on one side, workstations and medical on the other, divided by living quarters.
ICON says the structure will include a mix of stationary and movable furniture, a vaulted ceiling to avoid spatial monotony, as well as customizable lighting, temperatures and sound control to promote a healthy circadian rhythm and meet the daily needs of the child. ‘crew.
A concept of the structure, which will remain on Earth … for now. (ICON)
This isn’t the startup’s first rodeo with NASA, in March it announced it was teaming up with the space agency and members of its generation Artemis to create a rocket landing pad printed in 3D from materials found on the moon and society. is working with NASA on the “Olympus Project”, a research into a space construction system to support future exploration of the Moon.
NASA begins recruiting today for the analog study of the one-year Mars mission and will accept applications until mid-September.
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