These three ingenious NASA habitat designs could be where we eventually live on Mars

In case you didn’t know, Mars isn’t exactly the most hospitable planet out there. So, luckily for us, NASA has teamed up with some creative types to design some potential habitats.

The space agency has teamed up with MakerBot in an open challenge to allow anyone to design a potential habitat. Considering that future astronauts will be dealing with killer dust storms, temperatures in the minus 70s Fahrenheit — and, of course, deadly radiation — might as well open it up for every wild and zany pitch possible. 

Well, the Mars Base Challenge has narrowed all the designs down to a final top three, and the best and brightest options have been revealed. Obviously, these designs aren’t made by science types, but that doesn’t mean NASA engineers (or any other private space company) can’t take inspiration from the creativity.

Check ‘em all out below and let us know where you’d live to live on the red planet.

(Via Popular Science)

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    The Queen B (Bioshielding) 2 Bedroom 2 Bath Mars Apartment

    My solution is to use the tessellating hexagon due to its compactness and modular potential. I have extrapolated on the idea of a fully functional apartment on mars with all the modern amenities fit inside 16 foot diameter hexagons. I think that to present mars life to people and actually make it appealing to the public it needs to feel like home and reflect the lifestyle trends of earth living.

    A building with outstretched arms, wings, nodes, or branches is not practical for long-term efficiency and stability. It would be nearly impossible to keep warm due to heat dissipation through the venerable areas. Another aspect of the surface area problem is the cost and feasibility of creating cosmic shielding for strange shapes, convex nooks and curvatures.

    Everything needs to be shielded from the elements, and a structure made of flat panels is going to be the easiest to build, replicate, and maintain. The square prism would be an ideal shape for modules except that it does not posses the structural capabilities to bear extreme forces. A square prism under pressure distorts and ruptures easily. The hexagon, however can tile seamlessly like the square so it offers the space saving capabilities with the extra benefit of approximating the strength of a hollow column. The 60 degree angles of the hexagon tie a structure together far better than 90 degree corners.

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    The Mars Acropolis

    My design intent was to stray from the typical hexagonal pod design, and develop a creative blend of futuristic, yet modern stylization. The design is not altogether farfetched, as proven scientific methods, and building materials were followed, and incorporated into my design. Taking its design style cue from the ancient Greek Acropolis, The Mars Acropolis is a three tiered structure, used to sustain a livable environment on Mars. An outer wall serves as a protective barrier to the Acropolis.

    The structure foundation is built atop a mixture of soil from Earth and Mars, along with concrete and steel rebar and supporting beams. The structure itself will be constructed of composite materials (possibly FRP Fiber Reinforced Plastics i.e. fiberglass, or carbon fiber), stainless steel, aluminum, and titanium. The structure serves as a mass research facility, to explore and develop means for additional colonization of the planet.

    The Mars Acropolis has 3 massive greenhouses that contain a myriad of vegetation. This serves as a renewable food source, as well as forestation to produce oxygen and filter carbon dioxide.

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    Martian Pyramid

    The pyramid is one of the most iconic, long standing structures on earth, it's stable triangular geometry has proven itself through the ages in ancient buildings around the world and it's weather resistance in tent and teepee designs. This design focuses on looping essential systems into as many multi-functional roles as possible to ensure that the very limited resources are used and reused as much as possible.

    Food will be generated through a closed aquaponics system providing a diverse, sustainable food options for the crew in a relatively small space. Located at the top of the pyramid where most of the sunlight will hit, augmented with secondary rays from the solar collector.

    Energy will be produced from a mirror based solar collector, which will provide heating to the base as a byproduct. The simplicity of mirrors could be manufactured on mars to add to the collector as time progresses. A small nuclear generator for early base development and backup.

    Water is stored in a central location around the main power room to absorb and moderate the heat. It's placement also provides the crew convenient access to water and if power fails, gravity will still allow a sprinkler system to function throughout most of the base.

    High traffic rooms all have ample natural martian light to help with the crews extended isolation and confinement.

    Ample compartmentalized doors in-case of failure or atmospheric breach.

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