With its intense solar radiation and freezing temperatures, Mars isn’t exactly paradise.
On Sunday, NASA announced the winning designs for its 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, a competition to imagine how we could survive in the harsh climate.
Only one team took home the $US25,000 prize — for its triangular house built entirely from ice — but the other 29 finalists presented fascinating designs, too.
Some use autonomous robots to assemble the habitat. Some go deep underground. More than one uses cold fusion.
Few will be able to help humanity reach the red planet by the 2030s — one of NASA’s primary goals. But they do highlight how complex it will be for humans to arrive and live there.
Keep scrolling to see our favourite designs.
Team Rustem Baishev -- A large crawling robot called an extruder mines the Martian soil to build a domed, radiation-protected shelter as it goes, forming a spiral to signal infinite growth.
Redworks Habitat -- The multi-level underground dwelling was inspired by ancient cultures' use of modular rooms, as in pit houses, to create a system that can adapt to Martian geology.
Team GAMMA -- Semi-autonomous robots parachute to Mars and move the terrain to assemble 12-sided structures coated in Martian soil, which works as a barrier from radiation.
ICE HOUSE -- A multi-layered shell of ice encases a living zone and hydroponic greenhouse. The average temperature on Mars is 67 degrees below zero. The structure will not melt.
Team Foster + Partners -- A fleet of three robots will dig out craters for the habitat and self-assemble the inflatable structure. Ceilings are tall to accommodate Mars' bouncy one-third gravity.
The Radicle -- A two-part system of folding 'envelopes' to build the habitat and a cement shell that is 3D-printed from unspecified Martian resources enables minimal reliance on Mars without shipping a lot of cargo from Earth.
Team INMODE -- The modular system has four sleeping pods, a lab, and a recreation area. Astronauts have ample privacy without feeling cramped.
N3ST -- The team was inspired by simplicity and bit-by-bit construction to create three basic layers for a one-room habitat.
Team Staye -- The only settlement to call for boring directly into the ice of Mars' Equatorial Frozen Sea, the design is silo-shaped and uses cement 3D-printing to build walls and furniture.
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