AI SpaceFactory has been awarded first place in the NASA Centennial Challenge. The multi-planetary architectural and technology design agency’s Mars habitat MARSHA was awarded the overall winner in the long-running competition series, which saw 60 challengers in total. The MARSHA habitat offers a glimpse into what the future of human life could look like on Mars, with a 15-feet-tall prototype 3D printed during the final phase of the competition, including three robotically-placed windows.
MARSHA was praised for its smart use of materiality, constructed from a biodegradable and recyclable basalt composite derived from natural materials found on Mars. After withstanding NASA’s pressure, smoke, and impact resting, the material was found to be stronger and more durable than its concrete competitors.
Built from a novel mixture of basalt fiber extracted from Marian rock and renewable plant-based bioplastic, MARSHA’s vertical shape, and human-centric design marks a radical departure from previous Martian designs. AI SpaceFactory describes MARSHA as a first-principles rethinking of what a Martian habitat could be — not another low-lying dome or confined half-buried structure, but an airy, multi-level environment filled with diffuse light. This innovation challenges the conventional image of “space age” architecture by focusing on the creation of highly habitable spaces tuned to the demands of a Mars mission.
After spending two years developing the construction technology for Mars, the firm will now develop plans for recycling the materials from MARSHA and re-use them to 3D print TERA, the first-ever space-tech eco-habitat on earth. TERA is expected to launch on Indiegogo this month and will be open to anyone wanting to experience life on Mars.
We developed these technologies for Space, but they have the potential to transform the way we build on Earth. By using natural, biodegradable materials grown from crops, we could eliminate the building industry’s massive waste of unrecyclable concrete and restore our planet. – David Malott, CEO, and Founder of AI SpaceFactory.