NASA 3D-Printed Mars Habitat Simulated Mission
Photo credit: Go Nakamura/Reuters
Here’s an inside look at NASA’s 3D-printed Mars habitat for a simulated mission expected to last just over a year. Four non-astronaut volunteers will begin the trial this summer to help better understand resource use on the Red Planet by living in a 1,700-square-foot Mars Dune Alpha habitat.

The habitat will include two bathrooms, a vertical farm to grow vegetables, a medical care room, a lounging area, and several workstations. Astronauts will be able to step into a simulated Martian environment by going through an airlock inside the hangar. There they will find a brick-making machine, weather station and a small greenhouse.

No matter how challenging or large or expensive something like this is, it’s easier than doing it in spaceflight. So when we want to look at bone loss and muscle loss, we put people to bed. When we want to look at vitamin D and people that don’t see the sun, we go to Antarctica. When we look at oxidative stress, we go to the bottom of the ocean. And when we want to look at closed environments and stress, we build chambers like this,” said Scott Smith, who leads the Nutritional Biochemistry Laboratory at Nasa Johnson Space Center.