Basalt composite Mars habitat to be 3D printed on the Earth

Basalt composite Mars habitat to be 3D printed on the Earth

With the help of eco-friendly basalt composite and 3D printer, AI SpaceFactory, the winner of NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge is getting their Mars project off the ground here on the native Earth.

The designers mainly focus on cradle-to-cradle manufacturing and reduction of adverse impact on the environment. Sure enough, when NASA specified the Martian project’s main features as recyclability and sustainability, why should not these aspects be of the same importance for the Earth?

A new AI SpaceFactory’s project is called TERA. The printing materials are basalt fiber and plant-derived biopolymer. 3D printing enables almost wasteless construction process and AI SpaceFactory will use their mobile robotic arm for it.

The terrestrial project differs from that on Mars by smaller sizes (two floors), the wooden interior and numerous windows that required re-designing in order to keep strength.  

TERA and MARSHA are from the same family; they just have been born on different planets.

 – TERA Lead Designer and Architect, Sima Shahverdi.

The first habitat will be located on the Hudson River, in the forest, 1.5 hours by train from the city of New York.

Trying to make it as minimally invasive as possible to its surrounding environment, the designers are planning to build without leveling the ground.

A number of modern mechanisms were used to laser scan the site for this futuristic habitat and the robotic arm will 3D print based on the site’s topography.

Used to 3D print MARSHA, basalt composite was tested by NASA on various parameters. They found that it is durable and twice as strong as concrete. Once the challenge was completed, the structure was sawn into pieces and delivered to the company’s base. Then the remains were completely recycled.

The same future awaits for TERA when the lifespan expires. The habitat will be completely recycled without leaving any trace on the build site. This project along with technologies and materials is capable of becoming eco-friendly alternative to conventional building technologies.  

Yet, the designers are going to conduct additional testings. They will test for seismic and fire resistance, and resistance to lateral loads.

The first futuristic tower will become a kind of a hotel, where the visitors can enjoy unity with nature, being aware the need to preserve the home planet.

If the outer shell has unusual shape being printed from bizarre basalt composite, the interior is planned to be absolutely comfortable, with a modern design and all the necessary zones, including the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and living room. And the first guests are welcomed to stay in TERA in March 2020.


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