Based on a contract with NASA, construction company ICON and design firm BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group are building a Mars simulation station. The Mars Dune Alpha astronauts’ dwelling on Mars is printed on a 3D printer at the Johnson Space Center (Houston, Texas). The total area of the station will be 520 square meters and it is intended for the study of long human missions on Mars.
The station is a prototype of a small residential building, where personal spaces are also provided: there are four apartments at one end of the building, and the other side includes offices, farms and medical departments. To avoid monotony, within each sector, the ceiling and wall outlines are different. In addition to the necessary sectors, all the furniture and items in the rooms are movable, allowing the apartment owner to arrange everything to his liking. Fully adjustable. Also, lighting, temperature, noise level, sleep-wake (circadian) rhythm.
At the Johnson Space Center, three-dimensional printing of the residential module is done with a printer from the volcanic construction system company ICON. By the fall of 2022, he will be in full readiness to receive his first test crew. The structure will study the behavior and health of future astronauts, the essential and desirable elements of nutrition and entertainment. The project is led by NASA’s Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analogue Research Program (CHAPEA).
As part of the CHAPEA program, three one-year simulations of life on the surface of Mars will be carried out. Based on the information and technical data obtained, NASA will assess the potential risks posed by long-term human missions to Mars. Mars Dune Alpha will also evaluate the reliability of 3D printer constructions – including resistance to fluctuations and winds, air permeability, ability to maintain temperature and pressure, radiation protection and longevity. If these constructions are justified, the amount of construction materials and associated costs required for human space missions will be significantly reduced.
“Together with NASA and ICON, we will explore the future of humanity on an alien planet,” said Biarke Ingels, CEO of BIG. “By building the first stations on Mars, we will lay the foundations for Martian settlements and become multiplanetary species.”
Masterpieces created with 3D printers, such as the world’s first printed concrete bridge and steel bridge, as well as the Fibonacci house, which is built with parts printed on a 3-dimensional printer, have already been identified in the world of construction and architecture.