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NASA has tentative plans for a manned mission to Mars sometime in the 2030s. Between now and then, there’s still much that needs to be sorted. To start, massive dust storms, high levels of radiation, low temperatures and a lack of water make the Martian surface an unfriendly place for long-term visits. Taming it for human life will likely prove one of the most demanding and complex engineering puzzles in human history. With those extraordinary obstacles in mind, in 2015 NASA announced the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge: an open call asking designers and architects outside the traditional aerospace industry to create plans for Martian living centred around 3D printing. One of 10 finalists announced in 2019, this plan from the design practices HASSELL and Eckersley O’Callaghan envisions teams of 3D-printing robots building a protective shield on the Martian surface several months in advance of a human landing. Upon arrival, astronauts would then work alongside the autonomous robots to piece together an inflatable, modular habitat.
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Mood and emotion
‘Let me dream you into my reality’: memories illuminate an unthinkable isolation
Journey deep into the Philippine forest in search of the world’s largest, rarest eagle
What does an AI make of what it sees in a contemporary art museum?
Fairness and equality
How the first woman of colour to be elected to the US Congress remade education
History of ideas
Tantra is, and was, a subversive philosophy of feminine power
Rituals and celebrations
From roaring fire and molten glass an artist creates a healing ritual
Ecology and environmental sciences
Producing food while restoring the planet – a glimpse of farming in the future
Ancient Greek sculptures were colourful. Why does the white marble ideal persist?
From zero to 5,000 – music and visuals express 30 years of exoplanet discoveries