3D-Printed Ice Habitat Concept for Mars Draws Acclaim From NASA


Do you dream of visiting Mars? The Red Planet is the next challenge for space exploration and something that NASA is actively preparing for.

In anticipation of such a milestone, NASA asked aspiring scientists to produce mock habitats that astronauts could live in on Mars.

One team came up with the concept for Ice House. They printed the concept out using a 3D printer. In practice, the habitat would utilize water found on Mars to create walls made out of ice.

Science Alert reports:

The dwelling, to be situated in Mars’ northern hemisphere, would consist of a multi-layered, pressurised shell of ice 5 centimetres thick, which its designers say would protect the structure’s inhabitants from the harmful effects of cosmic and solar radiation.


Underneath the external icy exterior, the structure houses an interstitial zone enclosing another nested dome. Inside that, inhabitants can go about their business without protective suits, with the double shell layer theoretically protecting the Mars environment from any human contamination.


Ice House’s designers go into considerable depth on how the structure could be implemented on their website – and it’s no amateur effort, either, with the team comprising 12 scientists including astrophysicists, geologists, structural engineers, and 3D printing engineers.


The rest of the top 30 finalists in the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge Design Competition can be seen here, selected from more than 165 entries received in total.


“The creativity and depth of the designs we’ve seen have impressed us,” said Monsi Roman, NASA’s program manager for Centennial Challenges, in a press release. “These teams were not only imaginative and artistic with their entries, but they also really took into account the life-dependent functionality our future space explorers will need in an off-Earth habitat.”

Photo credit: Mars Ice House.