“MARSHA” is the name given to what could become the first human habitat on the planet Mars.
Designed and developed by New York based AI SpaceFactory, Marsha was originally an entry into a 3D Printed Habitat Challenge organised by America’s NASA ( National Aeronautics and Space Administration ). Their entry won the challenge and was awarded $500 000 in prize money.
Marsha proposes a bright, multi-level, corridor-free habitat that stands upright on the surface of Mars, in stark contrast to the low lying, half buried domes and bunkers that one may expect. Martian conditions require a structure optimized to handle internal atmospheric pressure and thermal stresses, as such Marsha’s unique vertically oriented, egg-like shape maintains a small footprint, minimizing mechanical stresses at the base and top which increase with diameter.
The habitats are 3D printed using an innovative mixture of basalt fiber extracted from Martian rock and renewable bioplastic (polylactic acid, or PLA) processed from plants grown on Mars. The mixture is said to be 50% stronger that concrete. Marsha’s tall, narrow structure reduces the need for construction machines and equipment to continuously go back and forth on the surface, reducing risk and increasing speed and accuracy.
The intention is to create an economically viable model by way of in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) technologies. This would make the idea of Martian exploration and settlement more sustainable as it hinges on the utilization of materials found on Mars.
As a runner up to MARSHA, AI SpaceFactory have also created TERA. An Earth based habitat of the same design and material composition to enable the experience of what sustainable life could be like on Mars. You can book a stay at TERA on Indiegogo.
You can find out much more detail about the design and materiality of Marsha here and in the videos below.