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NASA’S Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog & Mars Dune Alpha Habitat

icon-nasa-chapea-mars dune alpha extruding lavacrete from vulcan printer
Credit: ICON

3D printed Mars surface habitat analog

Known as Mars Dune Alpha, the 3D printed structure will simulate a Mars habitat to support long-duration, exploration-class space missions. Life in Mars Dune Alpha will resemble the expected experience for those living in a future Mars surface habitat. The layout of the 3D printed habitat was designed to provide separate areas within the habitat for living and working.

Why 3D printing?

Future space exploration settlements have the potential to be 3D printed with additive construction technology to eliminate the need to launch large quantities of building materials on multiple flights, which is cost prohibitive.

Crew Missions:

Three different crews will be selected to live in Mars Dune Alpha for one-year missions. Each crew will include four individuals and two alternates. The analog missions will provide valuable insights and information to assess NASA’s space food system as well as physical and behavioral health and performance outcomes for future space missions. Research from Mars Dune Alpha habitat will be used by NASA to inform risk and resource trades to support crew health and performance while living on Mars during an extended duration mission.

Habitat Print Stats:

  • Tech: ICON’s next generation Vulcan construction system
  • Dimensions: 1,700 square feet
  • Material: lavacrete

Mars Dune Alpha features include:

  • Four private crew quarters
  • Dedicated workstations
  • Dedicated medical station
  • Common lounge areas
  • Galley and food growing stations
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