The challenge, which began in 2015, has seen teams competing to design shelters suitable for the Moon, Mars and — optimistically — beyond.
For the fourth level of the third phase of the competition, 11 teams were asked to create full-scale renderings of their designs using modeling software, and short videos explaining their choices. Each model was evaluated for architectural layout and aesthetics, as well as the feasibility of their construction and scalability, among other traits.
Previous stages focused on architectural renderings and technologies required to build each design’s components.
Mars Incubators, a collective of engineers and artists, presented a modular design. Credit: Courtesy Mars Incubator
New York-based Team SEArch+/Apis Cor won first place with their unique twisted structure, which comes dotted with small holes to let in natural light.
Runner-up Team Zoperhous suggested that their modular structures could be printed by an autonomous rover; and Mars Incubator, a group of engineers and artists, showed a modular design consisting of four distinct spaces, including one for growing plants.
The three teams split a prize of $100,000 between them.
In the next round, set for early May, the finalists will 3D-print scale models of their designs as they compete for $800,000 in prize money.
Zorpheus’ designs would be built by an autonomous, roving 3D-printer. Credit: Courtesy Zopherus
“(Space Policy Directive 1) marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use,” he said. “This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints — we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, to many worlds beyond.”