NASA has awarded two teams a total of $400,000 as part of its 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge. The winning entries demonstrated the feasibility of systems that use 3D printing to create human habitats on other planets.
The most recent award was the second of a three-part challenge.
First prize ($250,000) went to Team Foster + Partners | Branch Technology of Chattanooga, TN. Second place ($150,000) went to Pennsylvania State University of University Park.
“The advancement and innovation in additive construction that we’ve seen from these teams is inspiring,” said Jim Reuter, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). “Meeting the technology goals of this challenge proves that competition can push boundaries, and their work puts us that much closer to preparing the way for deep space exploration.”
In Phase 2 of the competition, participants created recycling systems that could build structural components using terrestrial and space-based materials. They then developed 3D printing technologies that could produce a structurally sound habitat, including the printer and construction materials. They printed beams, cylinders, and domes that were analyzed and failure tested at the Caterpillar, Inc., Edwards Demonstration and Learning Center in Peoria, IL.
The teams printed the habitat pieces from Aug. 24 to 26 in front of the judging panel.
The 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge is aimed at developing technologies that could be used to create habitats out of local materials and recyclable materials both on other planets and in places here on Earth where the need for affordable housing is high, but building materials are scarce.
NASA’s Centennial Challenges Program and Bradley University in Peoria, partnered on the project.
You can read more about the early phases of the challenge here.