3D-printed Mars habitat team has breakthrough, finishes second in NASA challenge

“UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — When the results of the third phase of NASA’s 3D-Printed Mars Habitat Challenge were revealed in Peoria, Illinois, in early May, Penn State fell just short of besting its friendly rival AI SpaceFactory. But in the process, the team engineered a breakthrough that moves forward 3D-printing construction research and pushes the team closer to the goal of creating sustainable housing on Earth.

For just more than two years, Penn State Den@Mars, an interdisciplinary team composed of students and faculty representing the Colleges of Arts and Architecture, Engineering, and Agricultural Sciences, and the Materials Research Institute, has been competing in NASA’s ambitious challenge that calls on entrants to develop advanced 3D-printing technology to produce a structurally sound habitat that can be printed by NASA space explorers on Mars and beyond. And things have been going quite well.

The second-place finish in the final stage of phase three of the competition, which required the two remaining teams to 3D-print a one-third scale habitat, earned the Penn State team $200,000, bringing its competition earnings to $500,000.”

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