New York based AI SpaceFactory took the top prize, Pennsylvania StateUniversity of University Park won second-place
After 30 hours of 3D printing over four days of intense head-to-head competition, NASA and partner Bradley University of Peoria, Illinois, awarded $700,000 to two teams in the final round of the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge. New York based AI SpaceFactory took home the top prize of $500,000. Second-place honors and $200,000 went to Pennsylvania State University of University Park.
The two winning teams faced off May 1-4 at Caterpillar’s Edwards Demonstration & Learning Center in Edwards, Illinois, creating subscale shelters out of recyclables and materials that could be found on deep-space destinations, such as the Moon and Mars. The structures had to be a one-third scale version of their architectural designs. Each team employed robotic construction techniques that allowed minimal human intervention. Technologies like these will ultimately support more sustainable and autonomous exploration missions.
“It is an impressive achievement for these two teams to demonstrate this disruptive and terrific 3D-printing technology at such a large scale,” said Lex Akers, dean of Bradley’s Caterpillar College of Engineering and Technology. “By teaming up with NASA and Caterpillar, we are proud to bring these teams together in an environment where they can innovate, create and challenge our vision of what’s possible. Congratulations to both teams for their accomplishments.”
The 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge is managed through a partnership with NASA’s Centennial Challenges program and Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Bradley has partnered with sponsors Caterpillar, Bechtel, Brick & Mortar Ventures and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to administer the competition. NASA’s Centennial Challenges program is part of the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, and is managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.