Thursday, 18 May 2017

NASA awards USD 100,000 for 3D-printed space habitat challenge

NASA awards USD 100,000 for 3D-printed space habitat challenge

WASHINGTON, MAY 18, Two teams in the US have won awards worth USD 100,000 for completing the first stage of NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, which is aimed at creating living spaces to house astronauts in alien worlds. The top scoring team Foster+Partners of Branch Technology of Chattanooga, Tennessee earned USD 85,930, while the second team on the top from University of Alaska bagged USD 14,070. A total of seven teams are working on a new technology that could someday be used to build space habitats from materials on other worlds. The teams completed the first printing segment of the 3D- Printed Habitat(वास) Challenge that is run through a partnership with NASA’s Centennial(सौ साल का) Challenges Programme and Bradley University in the US. 

The goal of the challenge is to foster the development of technologies to manufacture a habitat using local indigenous materials with, or without recyclable materials.

The vision is that autonomous machines will someday be deployed in deep space destinations, including Mars, to construct shelters for human habitation.

On Earth, these capabilities could be used to produce affordable housing wherever it is needed or where access to conventional building materials and skills are limited.

“Seeing tangible, 3D-printed objects for this phase makes the goals of this challenge more conceivable than ever,” said Monsi Roman, program manager of Centennial Challenges.

“This is the first step toward building an entire habitat structure, and the potential of this technology in aiding human exploration to new worlds is thrilling,” Roman said.

The Level 1 Compression Test Competition is the first of three sub-competitions within Phase 2. For this stage, teams were tasked with developing 3D-printable materials, using a 3D printer, and were asked to print two samples- a truncated cone and a cylinder.

Judges evaluated (का मूल्यांकन) results from lab tests performed on the samples to determine a score.

In addition to the two teams that earned prize money, the other teams participating were: Bubble Base of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Pennsylvania State University of University Park; CTL Group Mars of Skokie, Illinois; ROBOCON of Singapore and Moon X Construction of Seoul, South Korea.

The teams showcased a variety of approaches, ranging from traditional cement to exotic cellular structures.

Teams will now work towards the Level 2 Beam Member Competition, where they must print a beam to be tested. New teams may enter the competition if they can meet the minimum requirements.

The 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge comprises of three phases: Phase 1, the Design Competition was completed in 2015. Phase 2, the Structural Member Competition, carries a USD 1.1 million prize and focuses on the material technologies needed to create structural components.

Phase 3, the On-Site Habitat Competition has a USD 1.4 million prize and focuses on fabrication technologies.

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