It's been three years since NASA announced its 3-D Printed Habitat Competition, sending designers and architects scrambling to imagine the best design for a home on Mars—one that could be constructed using materials already available on Earth's neighbor planet.
Now, Nasa has announced the top three finalists, and their designs are something else.
One team—SEArch+/Apis Cor—features port-like windows to let in the planet's natural light.
While the views of Mars would undoubtedly be stunning, the team isn't without practicality. The planet's indigenous materials would be constructed to protect the humans inside from radiation.
Team Zopherus, based in Arkansas, laid out plans for a habitat constructed from Martian concrete.
Like SEArch+/Apis Cor, the design includes a radiation shield, with natural light in its main hub, which connects to smaller rooms. The team says that the design would be erected by a Mars rover.
Connecticut-based team Mars Incubator touts a design with four key components.
The burnt orange color of Mars Incubator's design matches the surface of Mars, with pods for exiting the structure, for labs and food preparation, plant growth, and a multipurpose pod—each connected by adjustable bridges.
It will be years—if ever—before one of these designs will come to fruition on the Red planet, but these incredible engineers have shown that sustaining humans on Mars is becoming more and more plausible.