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Building on the Final Frontier

Five teams from four states shared a $100,000 prize in the latest stage of the NASA 3D-Printed Habitat Centennial Challenge.

Successful teams came from New York, Arkansas, Mississippi and Illinois and used specialized software to create a digital representation of the characteristics for housing on Mars. The final, on-site phase of the competition focuses on 3-D printing and fabrication of a scaled habitat that could use materials found on Mars, with or without recycled items. The total prize package for this stage is $1.7 million.

In addition to space applications, the technology developed could be used to build housing after natural disasters, in military situations and other cases. The competition gives Bradley students and faculty a chance to network and explore new ideas and breakthrough technology.

Started in 2014, the competition aims to spur citizen-inventors and companies to develop technology for space exploration. Earlier stages focused on the proposed structures’ architectural designs and structural properties. The third and final phase ends with the construction printing competition in early 2019.

Along with Bradley and NASA, sponsors include Caterpillar Inc., Bechtel, Brick & Mortar Ventures and the American Concrete Institute.

ABOVE: Mars illustration courtesy APIS

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