How To Build On Mars

Assume you’re an astronaut flying to Mars sometime in the near future. When you finally arrive (after a trip of anywhere from 150 to 300 days), where will you stay?

Someone is working on that. Suppose a robot with a 3D printer went first, gathered local materials, and printed the Martian base’s infrastructure before any humans arrived?

That is one idea being investigated now. A company called AI SpaceFactory has a structural design (and it’s not a dome), and early in 2020 will have a proof-of-concept home here on Earth for people to try out (there is a waiting list).

Of course, what can be built on Earth in about 200 hours will probably take months on another planet, given the time needed to find and process materials and the environmental extremes. And since no manned missions to Mars are even on the horizon, we’re definitely talking about the long term here.

Still, it’s an intriguing idea. And if we decide it will work on Mars, maybe it can be a housing-shortage solution for our own planet?

To watch a ten-minute video that discusses the details, go to Wired’s website for “Architect Explains How Homes Could be 3D Printed on Mars and Earth” (

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