NASA challenged designers and engineers to develop habitats that can support four astronauts for up to 12 months on Mars. These are NASA’s top five Mars habitat finalists.
Fifth is Northwestern University’s team, who made an inflatable habitat that offered various amenities like bedrooms, lab areas, living rooms, and kitchens. The habitat also divides wet areas from dry areas, reducing necessary resources for reliable plumbing.
Fourth is SEArch / Apis Cor, who made a habitat that is protected from radiation by enclosing a dense shield around it. Normally, reliable defense against Mars’ radiation would require habitats to be built underground but the tech in this design allows it to have similar defenses while remaining well above the surface.
Third is team Kahm-Yates, who made a habitat that minimizes Mars’ intense dust storms. It can also sustain greenery by providing a space for vegetation to flourish.
Second is MARSHA, who designed a flanged shell that is built to withstand Mars’ thermal conditions as well as divide itself into levels designed to separate varying tasks and objectives.
First is Zopherus, whose habitat features a spider-like pod that serves as a 3D-printing chamber, constructing habitats and campsites one at a time, before springing up on its legs to reveal its work and beginning to work on another structure nearby.
The challenge first launched in 2015, and plans to end in 2019 with more than $2 million up for grabs.