Foster + Partners California | Branch Technology has been awarded first-place in the NASA 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, Phase 2: Level 1 Competition organized by NASA and Bradley University. The competition envisions a future where autonomous machines will help to construct extra-terrestrial shelters for human habitation. This will also aid the development of technologies that advance fabrication capabilities on Earth.
The focus through the various stages of the challenge is to design and test individual prototypical building elements that can help demonstrate the suitability of the entire process from manufacture to construction and structural performance.
As part of this stage of the competition, teams were asked to use recycled mission materials and indigenous Martian regolith (soil) together to 3D-print a truncated cone and a cylinder, which were then subjected to compression testing to assess their suitability as structural components. Foster + Partners has been looking at the engineering geometry of the structures, while Branch Technology have brought their expertise with 3D-printing materials and methods to the project.