NASA selected XArc’s HexHab design for a planetary habitat as one of the top 10 concepts for a 3D printed Mars habitat. NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge is a competition for teams to push the state of the art of additive construction to design and build sustainable shelters for humans to live on Mars. Seventeen teams submitted their designs, and judges downselected to the top 10 teams, then to the top 5 teams eligible to split a $100,000 prize purse for the Phase 3 Level 1 competition. The HexHab design proposal from team X-ARC placed 7th overall. Teams move on to the next stage of the competition to compete for an additional $100,000 prize purse for the Level 2 virtual construction with detailed habitat designs, due in January 2019. The X-ARC team structure includes San Antonio, TX based entities XArc, JBRND, and WEX Foundation, plus subject matter experts and university students.
The multi-level contest challenges participants to prepare digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of a habitat on Mars using Building Information Modeling (BIM) software tools. The habitat must comprise a minimum of 1,000 square feet of living space to support four astronauts for one year and include plans for systems such as life support, mechanical and electrical, spacesuit and rover hatches, and plumbing. XArc’s HexHab concept uses an end-to-end systems approach for the habitat construction on the surface of Mars, built autonomously using 3D printed construction techniques with In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU). The required competition video submitted by the X-ARC team can be viewed here.