Although most works of science fiction depict space habitats as domes, this is wrong. A cylinder is a more appropriate structure instead.
The Autodesk Technology Centers are where the future of making takes shape. With locations around the world, we collaborate with industry, academic, and entrepreneurial communities to reimagine what it means to design and make, and create a shared vision of the future that will enable us to do more and make better things with less negative impact.
Autodesk provides the facilities, technology and equipment, training, and expertise for these communities to explore ideas that will shape the future. Each location — San Francisco, Boston, Toronto, and Birmingham, UK — explores different aspects of the future of making, from construction to advanced manufacturing to artificial intelligence and generative design. But all the spaces are designed to foster open innovation and advance the industries that help imagine, design, and make the world around us. For example, the Autodesk Technology Center at the BUILD Space in Boston is a research and development workspace focused on innovation in architecture, engineering, and construction.
AI SpaceFactory is a New York-based, full-service, architectural design and technology startup. AI SpaceFactory is collaborating with Autodesk at the BUILD Space. The team's project, MARSHA, was one of the five designs selected by NASA for the design of a 3D-printed Mars habitat. [Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!] Working at the Autodesk Technology Center, AI SpaceFactory used a large format high deposition rate robotic polymer extrusion process. This equipment was developed in collaboration with BUILD Space resident, Virginia Tech Center for Design Research, and the Macromolecules Innovation Institute at Virginia Tech.
MARSHA marks a radical departure from previous habitat schemes typified by low-lying domes or buried structures. Where structures on Earth are designed primarily for gravity and wind, unique conditions on Mars led to a structure optimized to handle internal atmospheric pressure and structural stresses: a vertical egg-like container with a minimal footprint. This innovation challenges the conventional image of "space age" architecture by focusing on the creation of highly habitable spaces tuned to the demands of a Mars mission.
AI SpaceFactory selected 3D printing as the basis for construction because:
- Landing on Mars is difficult. It is easier to land a 3D printer and use materials available on Mars instead of attempting to land all of the materials needed for traditional construction.
- Although a trip to Earth's moon takes 3 days, a trip to Mars takes 6 months. In addition, launch times are limited to designated time windows when the Earth's and Mars' orbits make the planets closest to each other. This makes delivering materials via multiple trips impractical.
Our March BUILD spotlight features Jeffrey Montes, Space Architect, Explanatory Habitats & Systems from AI SpaceFactory who explained the architecture, structure, and construction of MARS habitats.
"The strangeness of it [designing places to live where people aren't supposed to live] brings out a lot of interesting insights into the ways that people live, the way the structures work, and the ways that you can construct things as well."
— Jeffrey Montes, Space Architect, AI SpaceFactory
Check out the video:
Autodesk has always been an automation company. Today, more than ever, that means helping our customers automate their design and make processes. We help them embrace the future of making, where they can do more (e.g., increasing efficiency, performance, quality), with less (e.g., less energy, fewer raw materials, shorter timeframes, less waste of human potential), and realize the opportunity for better (e.g., innovation, user experience, return on investment). What is learned by overcoming the atmosphere, gravity, and solar factors of Mars can also be applied to design and construction on Earth resulting in better ways to design and build.
Space habitation is alive in the lab.