Digital construction blog outlining 3D printing structures in space

One small step for engineering, one giant leap for Digital Construction

Joe Coleman, Senior Account Manager at FMC Global Talent
Joe Coleman, Senior Account Manager at FMC Global Talent

With advancements in 3D printing technology or additive manufacturing, we’re closer than ever to living on another planet. Building large structures, objects and small towns or cities is increasingly becoming a realistic vision for the future.

Living in space?! Relocating to Mars was never an option for me, the commute to work would be horrendous… I think I’ll stick to my semi-detached house in Lincoln!

So, what are the barriers to building a row of terrace houses on Mars tomorrow? Alongside Nasa and other space administrations, leading Digital Construction companies are trying to answer this very question.

Revolutionary housing

3D printing operates at the bleeding-edge of Digital Construction, redefining traditional methods of building houses. You’ve probably seen the whacky technology on your LinkedIn feed and questioned whether robots can really produce a Tom Ford inspired living room. Well, the Netherlands are set to build the first habitable village of 3D Printed houses later this year.

Did you know that astronauts use similar technology onboard spacecrafts to print tools and parts for maintenance purposes? Structures in outer space will closely follow with Nasa running a BIM challenge for 3D-printed habitations on Mars.

Five lucky finalists have already produced designs for structures which include life support, MEP systems and rover dispatch areas using carefully selected and locally sourced materials on Mars. I’m personally looking forward to seeing the brochure.

3D-Printing technology

Made in Space produce 3D printing technology for the international space station. They have released blueprints for a printer which can produce large structures in the final frontier called “Archinaut”.

Rather than producing beams, bridges or structures and transporting them, manufacturing parts in space allows structures to be “space optimized” which means they’re much closer to their ideal designs.

The next hurdle is tackling material selection and testing certain composites on planets to assess their predictability and reliability to house people.

Blurred lines

Digital Construction and additive manufacturing are blurring the lines between the industries by redefining traditional construction methods whilst broadening manufacturing capabilities. There is an endless amount of opportunities to collaborate with other sectors and continue building a world which has only ever existed in the movies. Still not convinced? I’ve heard that Mars has a fantastically low crime rate!

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