AI SpaceFactory won $500,000 for its design, which used basaltic fibers and a bioplastic derived from plant starch. Dubbed MARSHA, the dwelling “marks a radical departure from previous Martian designs typified by low-lying domes or buried structures,” the winning team says.
“It’s light, and it’s strong, like an airplane,” says Lex Akers, Dean of the Caterpillar College of Engineering and Technology at Bradley University. “That’s going to be very important for these types of habitats.”
The contest required that materials include only recyclables and materials that could be found on “deep-space” destinations. Over 60 designs were submitted. A team of Penn State professors received $200,000 for their second-place design.