When astronauts head to Mars in the 2030s, they’ll need a comfy place to stay — and now we have an idea of what their faraway home might look like. NASA last week announced five winning teams in the latest stage of its ongoing competition to design a habitat for Mars, and the super-realistic renderings range from clustered hexagonal shells to a hat-shaped abode with curving, window-studded walls (see below).
The five teams, who shared $100,000 in prize money, were selected from among 18 teams competing in this latest round of NASA's 3D-Printed Habitat Centennial Challenge. All were asked to create virtual models of a habitat where four astronauts could live and work for one year.
In partnership with Bradley University of Peoria, Illinois, the space agency asked for designs that 3D-printing robots could make using raw materials found on the red planet.
“The teams were given very minimal requirements to allow them as much creativity and innovation as possible,” Monsi Roman, the manager of the competition, told NBC News MACH in an email.