America Makes and NASA Announce 3D Printed Habitat Challenge

May 16, 2015

Collaboration to Offer Centennial Challenge Focused on 3D Printing

Youngstown, Ohio — May 16, 2015. America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, and NASA are proud to announce the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, a new $2.25 million competition to design and build a 3D printed habitat for deep space exploration, including the agency’s journey to Mars.

“America Makes is honored to be a partner in this competition,” said Ralph Resnick, America Makes Founding Director and NCDMM President and Executive Director. “We believe that 3D printing/additive manufacturing has the power to fundamentally change the way people approach design and construction for habitats, both on Earth and off, and we are excitedly awaiting submissions from all types of competitors.”

The multi-phase 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, part of NASA’s Centennial Challenges program, is designed to advance the additive construction technology needed to create sustainable housing solutions for Earth and beyond.

Shelter is among the most basic and crucial human needs, but packing enough materials and equipment to build a habitat on a distant planet would take up valuable cargo space that could be used for other life-sustaining provisions. The ability to manufacture a habitat using indigenous materials, combined with material that would otherwise be waste from the spacecraft, would be invaluable.

The first phase of the competition, announced Saturday at the Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo, Calif., runs through Sept. 27. This phase, a design competition, calls on participants to develop state-of-the-art architectural concepts that take advantage of the unique capabilities 3D printing offers. The top 30 submissions will be judged and a prize purse of $50,000 will be awarded at the 2015 World Maker Faire in New York.

“The future possibilities for 3D printing are inspiring, and the technology is extremely important to deep space exploration,” said Sam Ortega, Centennial Challenges Program Manager. “This challenge definitely raises the bar from what we are currently capable of, and we are excited to see what the maker community does with it.”

The second phase of the competition is divided into two levels. The Structural Member Competition (Level 1) focuses on the fabrication technologies needed to manufacture structural components from a combination of indigenous materials and recyclables, or indigenous materials alone. The On-Site Habitat Competition (Level 2) challenges competitors to fabricate full-scale habitats using indigenous materials or indigenous materials combined with recyclables. Both levels open for registration Sept. 26, and each carries a $1.1 million prize.

Winning concepts and products will help NASA build the technical expertise to send habitat-manufacturing machines to distant destinations, such as Mars, to build shelters for the human explorers who follow. On Earth, these capabilities may be used one day to construct affordable housing in remote locations with limited access to conventional building materials.

 

The Centennial Challenges Program is managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., for the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more information about the 3-D-Printed Habitat Challenge, visit http://AmericaMakes.us/Challenge and www.nasa.gov/3DPHab.

Follow us on Twitter @3DPChallenge and stay connected with us on Facebook and Instagram at 3DPChallenge.

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About America Makes

America Makes is the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. As the national accelerator for additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing (3DP), America Makes is the nation’s leading and collaborative partner in AM and 3DP technology research, discovery, creation, and innovation. Structured as a public-private partnership with member organizations from industry, academia, government, non-government agencies, and workforce and economic development resources, we are working together to innovate and accelerate AM and 3DP to increase our nation’s global manufacturing competitiveness. Based in Youngstown, Ohio, America Makes is the flagship Institute for the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) infrastructure of up to 45 Institutes to follow and is driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM). For more information about America Makes, visit http://americamakes.us.

About NCDMM

The NCDMM delivers optimized manufacturing solutions that enhance the quality, affordability, maintainability, and rapid deployment of existing and yet-to-be developed defense systems. This is accomplished through collaboration with government, industry, and academic organizations to promote the implementation of best practices to key stakeholders through the development and delivery of disciplined training, advanced technologies, and methodologies. For additional information, visit the NCDMM at ncdmm.org.

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