AMS Spring 2023

ADAM: A Concept for Autonomous Construction on Mars

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Gracinda Ferreira has an interesting concept for building structures on Mars and beyond. Her ADAM idea calls for an automated construction tool to 3D print homes on the surface. After ADAM is done it rests in place and becomes a part of the dwelling in question. This is a different solution than some of the Mars Habitat ideas we’ve been hearing about over the years.

“This mechanism is essentially composed of an automated body that centralizes all command functions, and has approximately the shape of a regular space capsule, to which two multifunctional arms are attached in opposite positions. The arms pivot horizontally around the capsule, and are capable of moving up and down independently. They are the extruding limbs, which conduct the mixture from the inside of the capsule, where it is mixed, to the building site. Two other mechanical limbs work as suction hoses, that will pick up the martian soil and take it into the mixing chamber.

“This mechanism is called “Automatic Deployment and Anchorage Mechanism” or ADAM. When deployed on the ground, it will start its 3D printing function of building an in-situ rigid modular structure in the shape of an optimized dome, with a raw mixture of local regolith, water and other binding additives that need to be carried, and that must be chosen in order to give the compost the intended properties.”

A water-based system may have its disadvantages on Mars but since any material is so scarce and people would be too, reusing the build equipment as structural and management components of the dwelling would have distinct advantages. Gracinda believes in this concept enough to patent it and is trying to solicit partners for it. ADAM also would be a “mechanism becomes a tool to extract and process resources in a continuous way, securing a sustainable environment that is self-regulated and can self-repair and rebuild. ”

First, though, ADAM lands on the planet and bores a ten-meter hole.

Rotating shovels, assisted by propellors, will then extend and dig outwards.

Regolith is then mixed into a form of concrete in the device and extruded.

ADAM will then 3D print the dome around itself, encapsulating itself.

The entrance of the dome will be through ADAM at the top. The module itself will then provide for air and lighting inside the dome while the arms could be used to hang up solar panels or at one point repair or extend the dome. Rather than a large gantry that would have to be dismantled, we’re seeing something that will have a second life once the structure has been built. This is in and of itself very interesting. Encapsulated in this concept is also the idea of having a self-repairing building that could renew itself which would be very handy considering the harsh Martian conditions.

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