In order to build the structure, AI SpaceFactory created their own material, which can be made from matter found or grown on Mars. Through the use of state or the art robotics and their proprietary “Martian polymer”, AI SpaceFactory is aiming for the top prize to print a sub-scale habitat in the third and final part of the construction competition.
The prototype is at 1:3 scale and will be printed in front of a live audience at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, starting April 29 and finishing on May 4. Progress has been rapid within the team, as AI SpaceFactory progressed from basic tests to an autonomously printed large-area slab validated by NASA across just five weeks, with approval coming in November 2019.
Only four weeks later, the team completed a 24-hour print of a large cylinder designed to hold twelve hundred gallons of water, complete with prefabricated wall penetrations robotically placed and sealed during the printing phase.
AI SpaceFactory describe MARSHA as a rethinking of what a Martian habitat could be, focusing on the ability to create an airy, multi-level environment that allows for diffuse light. This re-design challenges the standard image of “space-age” architecture by focusing on the how habitable the spaces are in the context of the Mars mission.