Mars, the red planet that NASA hopes to send astronauts to, within the next couple of decades, provides the space agency a laundry list of challenges. Besides the difficulties that an eight month trek would create for astronauts once they arrive, the relentlessly harsh conditions are more than the average individual could ever handle. This is why, one of the most important aspects of such a mission to the red planet, is the construction of an adequate base. We are still likely 15 or more years away from actually landing human beings on Mars, but it is feasible that within the next decade or so, missions may begin in which robotic devices are sent to the planet, in order to construct future bases for human beings, once they arrive.
We love contests here at 3DPrint.com, especially contests which involve 3D printer giveaways, which convince participants to think outside the box, in order to design models. What could be more exciting than a contest which combines the difficult design challenges of creating a livable habitat on Mars, with the amazing technology of 3D printing? That’s is just what Makerbot has teamed up with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to bring to the maker community.
Makerbot’s ‘Mars Base Challenge‘ has launched this afternoon, and will run until June 12th. The contests challenges participants to design a utilitarian mars base which can withstand the brutal elements found on the planet. Mars can be extremely cold, has high levels of radiation, low oxygen levels within the atmosphere, and dust storms which could literally eat away at exposed skin. Doesn’t sound too pleasant, right? NASA and Makerbot agree, therefore they want your help and design expertise, to come up with a solution, which allows astronauts to eventually settle down on the red planet for months at a time.
Contestants will have until June 12th to upload their design to Thingiverse with the tag #MakerBotMars. Once the contest ends, a panel of judges, made up of employees from both Makerbot and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will judge entries based on three criteria; printability (using Makerbot’s line of 3D printers), scientific feasibility, and creativity. There will be four winners selected, and the following prizes awarded:
- Grand Prize: MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer
- First Place: Three spools of MakerBot PLA filament, and your MakerBot mars design will be featured on Thingiverse.com
- Second Place: Two spools of MakerBot PLA filament, and your MakerBot mars design will be featured on Thingiverse.com
- Third Place: One spool of MakerBot PLA filament, and your MakerBot mars design will be featured on Thingiverse.com
The full details about this contest can be found here. Winners will be announced on the Makerbot Blog on June 25th. Please let us know if you decide to enter the contest. We would love for you to post a link to your design at the 3DPB.com forum thread for the Makerbot Mars contest. For further facts about the red planet, prior to designing your Mars base, check out this link.
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