Now that we know that there’s flowing water on Mars, it’s time to start house-hunting!
That’s the challenge NASA posed at the 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge Design Competition, which took place on Sunday. The competition asked architects to design a home for astronauts (or us!) that could be made on Mars using a 3-D printer. 165 entries were submitted, and the winners were the New York-based groups, Space Exploration Architecture and Clouds Architecture Office, which won a $25,000 prize.
The home they designed is basically a super fancy igloo — it’s even called the Mars Ice House. The ice, which comes from beneath the Martian ground (called regolith), would form two shells, covered with a transparent ETFE membrane. Though many Martian homes are usually designed to be underground because of the radiation on Mars’ surface, Ice House would be above ground since ice is able to effectively absorb radiation. This design “celebrates the human presence on the planetary surface.”
Inside the house, there’s a spiral staircase and even a cool “front-yard” area which “demonstrates a new, liberating and revolutionary definition of living extra-terrestrially” because you can hang out there without a space suit. There’s also going to be some green gardens and big windows where you can “contemplate the vista of the extraordinary Martian terrain.”
Sounds good to us; all we need are our whiskey space glasses we’re ready to go!