The race to Mars is on, with NASA working to 3D-print a colony for the planet in what has become a multi-country race to colonize it. An engineering professor is working with the U.S. agency on the project after having developed a way to print a massive building in only one day.
Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates also now has official plans to build a city on Mars within the next 100 years. And then there’s SpaceX Chief Elon Musk, whose obsession with Mars has been well-documented for some time.
3D printing a Mars colony
CNN interviewed Behrokh Khoshnevis, the University of Southern California engineering processor who’s been working with NASA since 2011. He showed off his Contour Crafting 3D-printing method in 2004, making it possible to 3D print a 2,500-square-foot building in less than 24 hours. Last year his Selective Separation Sintering 3D-printing technique won first prize in NASA’s In-Situ Materials Challenge. The process uses powder-like materials that are common on Mars and is able to 3D-print things in zero gravity.
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The professor believes it won’t be long before the human race starts building on Mars —less than 50 years, to be precise — and he used his own money to run some experiments for his 3D-printing methods. He bought some materials that are similar to those found on the Red Planet and was able to start building things using his method. The first steps to building, however, are deploying robots and a power infrastructure to support the robots and the 3D printers that will do the work. He explained that all the work will have to be done autonomously since people aren’t there to do it.
UAE reveals Mars 2117 initiative
Last week, UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed tweeted about their project, which involves building a small city on the Red Planet —a plan that requires multiple countries to cooperate to achieve it.
The project, to be named “Mars 2117”, integrates a vision to create a mini-city and community on Mars involving international cooperation. pic.twitter.com/v27jA3K3pS
— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) February 14, 2017
His announcement came in conjunction with the World Government Summit in Dubai last week, according to CNBC. The UAE said it plans to build the first city on the planet by 2117. The country’s engineers showed off a concept city roughly the size of Chicago.
The UAE is no stranger to high ambitions, as Dubai holds the tallest building in the world and is known for many other engineering feats. The first Hyperloop is being built in the UAE, and the country always welcomes new marvels.