Kickstarter campaign aims to help make 3D-printed space habitats for Mars

Mars X-House sounds like kind of reality TV show pitched somewhere between astronaut training and Big Brother. In fact, it’s an ambitious project to create a prototype future Mars habitat using 3D printing. And you can help be a part of it.

In a nutshell, the idea is this: In the future, advanced 3D printers will be deployed to places like the moon and Mars, where they will create structures fit for human habitation. Using autonomous technology, this could be done in advance of humans arriving. Such technology has already been demonstrated on Earth, where researchers have used large scale additive manufacturing to 3D prototype houses. Two companies with experience in this, Search+ and Apis Cor, are now participating in a 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, due to be hosted by NASA in Peoria, Illinois in May 2019. They hope to demonstrate the live 3D-printing of a 1/3-scale habit that’s fit for the finest of astronauts.

3D printing a durable house on Earth isn’t easy. On Mars, it would be considerably tougher — not least due to the unforgiving lack of breathable atmosphere should something go wrong. For this reason, Search+ and Apis Cor plan to carry out multiple toughness tests for their creation. These will include a smoke test to assess air-tightness, an impact drop test, and a crush test to examine the point of failure for the habitat. All in the name of science, obviously.

To help make their 3D-printed Martian habitat a reality, Search+ and Apis Cor have taken to Kickstarter to raise additional funding. This will be used to help modify their printer to make it mobile, manufacture materials for tests and final printing, rent a pneumatic system and material silo, and more. To do this, they’re asking for $35,000. For rewards, they are offering a plethora of goodies — including posters, tote bags, badges, and other memorabilia bearing the Mouse X-House branding. Plus, of course, the knowledge that you’ve contributed to the future of space exploration.

As ever, we offer our usual warnings about the risks inherent in crowdfunded campaigns. With less than a couple of weeks to go, the Search+ and Apis Cor team still have a way to go to raise all of their funding. However, if you’re keen to give them a helping hand, head over to the project’s crowdfunding page to get involved. Future Mars colonists will surely thank you!

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