AI SPACEFACTORY

AI. SpaceFactory
298 5th Avenue, 4th Fl
New York, NY 10001

©2018 AI. SpaceFactory

 

ARCHITECTURE ON MARS

Architecture on Earth plays a critical role in the way we live. On Mars, this role reaches a higher level of importance since architectures are machines which keep us alive. In space architecture, every design decision is of great consequence to the success of a mission. Structures must be resilient and interior layouts must function around mission demands.  But since sustained social and mental health is also mission-critical, space habitats should offer an element of humanity.  The result is a credible and evocative habitat with an alien yet familiar beauty.

 
 

BUILDING A MARS HABITAT

In an alien environment 54.6 million kilometers away, construction and materials must be rethought entirely

 

3D PRINTING

In-Situ Resource Utilization

Martian exploration and settlement at any meaningful scale will depend on materials found on Mars. This is enabled by a technology known as in-situ resource utilization (ISRU). ISRU circumvents the limits of the rocket equation — that every 10 pounds of rocket need 90 pounds of propellant. Without ISRU, the cost of importing materials from Earth renders the project impossible.


Second, habitats should be completed with life-support systems in place before humans arrive. NASA plans to send machines in advance to harvest the Martian landscape, extracting materials for robotic printers to build our first homes on Mars in anticipation of our arrival.       

 
 

MARSHA marks a radical departure from previous Martian designs typified by low-lying domes or buried structures.  Where structures on earth are designed primarily for gravity and wind, special conditions on Mars point to a structure optimized to handle internal atmospheric pressure and structural stresses: a vertical container with a minimal footprint. MARSHA's vertical orientation and small footprint also alleviate the need for a construction rover moving on unfamiliar ground. 


Instead, MARSHA is constructed with a vertically telescoping arm attached to a stationary rover throughout the 3D printing process. These innovations challenge the conventional image of “space age” domes by focusing on the creation of vertically oriented, human-centric habitats tuned to the demands of a Mars mission.

 
 
 

DOUBLE SHELL

MARSHA uses a unique dual-shell system to isolate the habitable spaces from the natural expansion and contraction caused by extreme temperature swings on Mars. As a result, the interior is free to be light, airy, highly mass-optimized, and human: a tiny bubble of Earth on a distant world.

 
 
 

HUMAN EXPERIENCE

A day in the life of MARSHA

MARSHA's functional areas are spread over four levels identified by a unique interior atmosphere that encourages mobility and averts monotony. Via the large skylight above and intermittent windows, the space between the two shells acts as light-well connecting all levels with diffuse natural light. This unique space allows for a stair to arc gently from floor to floor, adding dimension to daily life.

 
 
 
 
 

MARTIAN CIRCADIAN LIGHT

Recreate Earthly light for mental health

Indirect natural light from the large water-filled skylight and intermittent windows floods the interior while still keeping the crew safe from harmful solar and cosmic radiation. Circadian lighting, designed to recreate Earthly light, is employed to maximize crew health.

 
 

MARSHA MATTER

Our formula for 3D-printing on Mars: basalt fiber-reinforced polylactic acid.

The economic case for settling Mars - and the creation of habitats of adequate size - hinges on in-situ resource utilization. We are formulating an innovative mixture of basalt fiber extracted from Martian rock and renewable bioplastic (polylactic acid, or PLA) processed from plants grown on Mars.

 

SUPER STRONG

Basalt fiber is known for its superb tensile strength. It's comparable to carbon fiber and kevlar yet much simpler to produce.

SHIELDS RADIATION

Due to their low overall atomic weight, plastics are effective shields for ionizing cosmic radiation.

MISSION-RENEWABLE

PLA is a strong thermoplastic that is recyclable yet and has the added benefit of in-situ manufacture.

DIMENSIONALLY STABLE

PLA has lowest coefficient of thermal expansion among plastics – crucial to achieving composite action with chopped basalt fiber, which is also highly stable.

NON-TOXIC

Being a bioplastic, emissions from PLA printing are benign, unlike petrochemical plastics which emit high levels of toxic micro-particles such as styrene.

NON-CONDUCTIVE

PLA is prized for its low conductivity and basalt is among the most effective insulators known. Together, they shield against the extreme exterior environment.

 

THE MARSHIANS

Our all-star team of subject matter experts at the top of their respective fields.

 

AI SPACEFACTORY - DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION

Jeffrey Montes (Team Leader), David Malott AIA, David Riedel, Christopher Botham, Sima Shahverdi, Michael Bentley, Tony Jin

CONSORTIUM PARTNER - VIRGINIA TECH

Virginia Tech Center for Design Research -- https://vtcdr.org/
Macromolecules Innovation Institute at Virginia Tech -- https://mii.vt.edu/

EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES - AUTODESK TECHNOLOGY CENTER BOSTON

Dr. Nathan King, Adam Allard

THORNTON TOMASETTI - STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING

Chi Chung (Billy) Tse P.E., Dennis K. Poon P.E., Saravanan Panchacharan P.E., Hao Chen

TECHMER PM - POLYMER ENGINEERING

Tom Drye, Alan Franc

UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA - PLANETARY PHYSICS

Dr. Phil Metzger

U. MICHIGAN (ACE-MRL LAB) - CONCRETE ENGINEERING

Dr. Victor Li

RWDI - BUILDING ENVELOPE ENGINEERING

Duncan Phillips

ARUP - LIGHTING

Haniyeh Mirdamadi

MICHIGAN TECH - SYSTEMS AND CIVIL ENGINEERING

Dr. Paul van Susante

HONEYBEE ROBOTICS - EXPLORATION ROBOTICS & ISRU

Dr. Kris Zacny

STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY - MARTIAN GEOCHEMISTRY

Dr. Scott McLennan

PLOMP - VISUALIZATION

 

JOIN US IN THE FUTURE

For media inquiries and collaborations only.

 

AI. SpaceFactory
298 5th Avenue, 4th Fl
New York, NY 10001

 

Read more about Marsha and our other initiatives in our blog (coming soon)