Feb 24, 2017 12:35 AM EST
NASA is studying on how they can build houses for the astronauts that will go to Mars. They are planning to 3D print their habitats using the soil from Mars.
As NASA is hoping to send the first manned spacecraft to Mars in the 2030s, it is still planning on how the astronaut will live there. A professor in University of Central Florida and NASA are working ways to get metals from the soil in Mars. They are planning to put those metals into a 3D printer to make houses for astronauts. It will make ship parts, tools and other electronic that is important, Phys.org reported.
"It's essentially using additive-manufacturing techniques to make constructible blocks. UCF is collaborating with NASA to understand the science behind it," said Pegasus Professor Sudipta Seal, who is interim chair of UCF's Materials Science and Engineering program, and director of the university's Advanced Materials Processing & Analysis Center and NanoScience Technology Center.
NASA together with UCF professor Seal is working on how to do molten regolith electrolysis in Mars. It is the process of making metal ores here on Earth. Since Mars' soil is compose of regolith, it will be used and will be put into a machine and will be heated up to 3000 Fahrenheit. After that, the electrolysis process will make oxygen and melted metals that are needed for potential human space exploration.
According to Digitals Trends, Professor Seal is good at knowing what metal to use for ht e3D printing so it will be really helpful for the project. The regolith is made of metal oxides, which, if electrolyze will turn into metal and oxygen, said Kevin Grossman, a UCF graduate student and NASA intern working on the project. The astronauts will use the oxygen will metals will be for their habitats, Grossman added.
If this research is successful, NASA can send spacecraft and astronauts without any heavy load because they will be living off and making their own in Mars. If possible in far future, maybe, humans can also live there by self supporting.