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NIAC Contour Crafting, Robotic construction of Lunar and Martian infrastructure. A NASA Innovative Advanced Concept (NIAC) project. USC Center for Rapid Automated Fabrication Technologies (CRAFT)

The Future Anticipates 3D Printed Homes on Mars

Thanks to a 3D printing technique called Contour Crafting, homes could be printed on Mars in just 24 hours.

| 2 min read

Thanks to a 3D printing technique called Contour Crafting, homes could be printed on Mars in just 24 hours

We are at the frontiers of a new era in space exploration. Accordingly, building villages on Mars has become one of NASA’s top priorities in order to enable astronauts to live there and work for increasingly extended periods. Contour Crafting, a 3D printing technique developed by Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering, could have houses constructed on Mars in as little as 24 hours.

Contour Crafting involves printing concrete buildings layer by layer using a giant robotic printer. It can print both straight and wavy lines designed with internal cavity systems for radiation shielding, insulation, and extra strength. According to Dr. Khoshnevis, the wavy designs and curved walls creates an innovative type of architecture that is both exotic and beautiful.

The smart printing robot functions by using concrete or other materials and applying them in a pre-determined pattern with a nozzle on a moveable platform. Khoshnevis predicts that this simple layering technique is likely to be popular in emerging markets where there’s a high demand for quick, cheap, and safe housing.

One of the biggest obstacles in creating lunar bases and villages on Mars is the cost to transport construction materials to Space. Dr. Khoshnevis says transporting just one kilogram of material like brick costs between $100,000 and $200,000 USD. Contour Crafting would allow NASA to construct buildings in Space using the material that is present on the Moon or Mars.

Contour Crafting in Space isn’t a project that will take decades of research and development. In fact, the Contour Crafting organization created a proposal to develop a construction system that is feasible, economical, and practical to manage within the next decade. In just a few years’ time, NASA might be sending astronauts off to Mars to live in these 3D printed villages.

Khoshnevis also has visions that Contour Crafting might help to alleviate the lack of shelter in slum areas or disaster zones. The innovations could offer cheap, quick, and simple homes for those in dire need.

On the other hand, Contour Crafting could also be applied to print out customized luxury homes, featuring smart LED lighting and the ability to control your “smart home” system from your phone. The construction technique is accessible and allows people to use their imaginations when designing a dream home.

The technology has only been around for a few years but has the potential to create luxury homes, alleviate disaster-struck and slum conditions, and build homes on Mars. For also being cost-effective and simple, we’d say Contour Crafting deserves a standing ovation.

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