French 3D-printing company Fabulous has recruited a team of architects and scientists to visualise a bubble-shaped habitat for humans to live on Mars that can be printed on the red planet.
The Sfero house features an internal and external dome, with a protective layer of water between the two. A single corridor rests on the planet’s surface and allows access to the interior, which would have an upper and lower level linked by a spiral staircase.
Construction of the house would start with as a central drilling rod that burrows into the soil to extend two robotic arms, which would harvest materials to be used for 3D-printing the habitat’s internal and external dome-shaped shells.
The spherical shape has been designed to offer high resistance to Mars’ low atmospheric density.
The design aims to use the red planet’s abundance of iron oxide – discovered in dust samples and rocks brought back by NASA’s Pathfinder rovers – which would form the raw material for 3D printing. The powdered iron particles would then be fused together by laser, and the levels of the habitat printed layer by layer.
The arms would also seek out permafrost – soil that has been at or below freezing for at least two years – to be melted and used as a 30-centimetre-wide water pocket in between the two shells to protect against solar radiation.
Fabulous founder Arnault Coulet believes the water layer could be a “permanent psychological reminder of the main element of the mother planet – water constituting a sort of protective amniotic fluid for humans.”