LONDON (TIP): A French firm has designed a conceptual shelter for future astronauts on Mars that would be 3D-printed on the red planet using local materials.

Resembling an igloo from the surface, the shelter, dubbed Sfero, would be partially buried beneath the ground. Access to it would be gained by its one long corridor, which contains an airlock.

The interior comprises three floors. The uppermost floor measures just 3 sq m, and food can be grown here, while the next floor measures 29 sq m, comprising a work area and bathroom. The lowermost floor measures 40 sq m and contains sleeping quarters. The occupants would navigate between each floor by a spiral staircase.

The firm, Fabulous, envisions that the red planet’s own substrata could be used as a raw material for 3D printing. The process would involve a central mast that can extract iron from the planet’s soil and rock, and also seek out permafrost to turn into water and use as insulation between the structure’s inner and outer shell, reducing the effect of solar radiation. The firm plans to test the shelter in California’s Mojave Desert or somewhere in Hawaii, while the Gale Crater is slated as the shelter’s final Mars location. The project has been created in response to Nasa’s call for designs for 3D-printed habitats for Mars, despite the competition being only officially open to US residents, according to Dezeen.

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Volume 10 Issue 41 | New York | Oct 21

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