In Brief
The first prize winner of NASA's 3D Printed Habitat Challenge is backed up by the recent findings of water presence on Mars.
The Breakthrough

The Mars Ice House, the 3D printed frozen habitat by Team Space Exploration Architecture, uses water as the primary material for construction. In line with the recent findings of water presence on Mars, the design of the home poses as ideal since it’s already working with a material that’s already there. The team figured out a way to keep the ice from sublimating through a coating of a Dyneema-reinforced EFTE plastic’s membrane and a technique which is aided by the sun’s radiation.

The Implications

The ice house won’t just serve as a home for the possible inhabitants for the planet, but it will also be an effective radiation shield, which will be needed given Mars’ thinner atmosphere. The design also allows light to the interiors, which allows “the mind as well as the body to thrive,” thus, reducing the need for a synthetic replacement for sunlight.