Registration is open for Phase 3 of NASA's 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, which searches for ways to create shelters for astronauts on locations such as the moon and Mars.
The $2 million prize for this phase encourages competitors to create miniature habitats using "indigenous materials" from the location at which the habitat is built. (An example of this would be lunar regolith, or soil, for a habitat on the moon.) There are five levels of competition; teams may register at this website through Feb. 15, 2018.
"The vision is that autonomous machines will someday be deployed to the moon, Mars or beyond to construct shelters for human habitation," NASA officials said in a statement. "On Earth, these same capabilities could be used to produce affordable housing wherever it is needed, or where access to conventional building materials and skills are limited."
The competition has already seen two phases. Phase 1 focused on architectural concepts and was completed in 2015, while Phase 2 examined the manufacturing of structural components and finished in August 2017.
"The ideas and technologies this competition has already produced are encouraging, and we are excited to see what this next phase will bring," Monsi Roman, program manager of NASA's Centennial Challenges, said in the statement. "The solutions we seek from our competitions are revolutionary, which by nature makes them extremely difficult. But this only fuels our teams to work harder to innovate and solve."
The competition is run as a partnership between NASA and Bradley University and includes sponsors Caterpillar Inc., Bechtel and Brick & Mortar Ventures.