Mars X-House: Design Principles for an Autonomously 3D-Printed ISRU Surface Habitat
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MARS X-HOUSE V.1 and MARS X-HOUSE V.2 demonstrate architectural principles applied through an evidence-based process supporting two concepts of operations for autonomous construction of a pioneering and durable habitat supporting future missions to Mars. The two habitat designs have evolved in parallel to research advancing the viability of cementitious 3D-Printing in off-world construction, and present a scheme to develop an ISRU-based concrete material for future Mars infrastructure and habitat development. SEArch+ and Apis Cor are participants within NASA’s Phase III Centennial Challenge for a 3D-Printed Habitat on Mars, winning first place in Construction Levels 1 and 2, fourth place in Virtual Design Level 1 (60% Design), and first place in Virtual Design Level 2 (100% Design). MARS X HOUSE celebrates innovations in radiation shielding while allowing natural light to penetrate the structure, supporting the astronauts’ physiological and psychological well-being in a long-duration mission. Our human-centered approach prioritizes safety, redundancy, and the wellbeing of the crew above the Martian surface. Rather than burying habitats underground, the designs of MARS X-HOUSE seek to exceed current radiation standards through a combination of thermoplastic, fibrous, and cementitious materials while safely connecting the crew to natural light and views to the Martian landscape. In conversation with ISRU, planetary, and radiation experts, new studies (Cucinotta et al.) indicate that the density of Mars atmosphere along the horizon can allow light transmission up to 30° above the horizon. This critical finding enables a relaxation of constraints and supports architectural concepts featuring windows and apertures allowing vistas to the Martian surface. Research indicating whether concrete structures may indeed contain an atmosphere in off-world conditions remains inconclusive. The evidence-based process of MARS X-HOUSE 1 and 2 advances research supporting the structural and material development of additively-manufactured airtight structures, essential for future surface habitats on the Moon and Mars.