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NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge won by Foster + Partners technology 
Photo Credit To Foster + Partners

NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge won by Foster + Partners technology 

NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge won by Foster + Partners technology

In a competition to advance the fundamental construction technologies necessary to create off-world habitats, NASA awarded first prize to team Foster + Partners.

Out of 77 registered teams, five teams qualified to compete in the final level of the competition held last August at Caterpillar’s Demonstration and Learning Centre in Edwards, Illinois.

The NASA Centennial Challenge envisions a future where autonomous machines will help construct extra-terrestrial shelters for human habitation. This will also aid the development of
technologies that advance fabrication capabilities on Earth.

NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge won by Foster + Partners technology 

While the final shelter will be a complex assembly of smaller building elements, 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.

NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge won by Foster + Partners technology 

Tasked with producing three beams, three cylinders, and a 1.5 metre dome out of indigenous Martian regolith (basalt soil) and recyclable materials, Foster + Partners | Branch Technology won all segments of the head-to-head competition. Performing better than any other team, their structure was able to take double the load of a competing concrete dome in the stress test at a maximum load of 1,694 kg.

The competition demanded that all structures be 3D printed within a 12 hour time frame and with the required material constraints, geometric tolerances and autonomous performance. Strength was the ultimate determining factor in the win, as NASA’s vision is to use similar technology to construct habitats and infrastructure for astronauts on Mars.

NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge won by Foster + Partners technology 

Foster + Partners has been looking at the engineering geometry of the structures, while Branch Technology has been focused on 3D printing fabrication technology. Working together they have developed new approaches to materials and methods for this specific project. Developing optimised solutions that are specifically designed for the complexities of space travel, each of the proposals balances cost, weight, and structural performance against the stringent requirements of the long-term goal of extra-terrestrial habitation.

NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge won by Foster + Partners technology 

The team thanks the generous competition sponsors: Caterpillar, Bechtel, Bradley University, and Brick and Mortar Ventures. As well as the support of robotics engineering company Kuka and materials design experts Techmer PM. The next phase of the NASA challenge is currently under development, and will focus on fabrication of complete habitats.

Post source : Foster + Partners

About The Author

Anthony has worked in the construction industry for many years and looks forward to bringing you news and stories on the highways industry from all over the world.

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