This week four volunteers moved into Mars Dune Alpha, NASA's 3D-printed habitat designed by BIG. Created for NASA's CHAPEA (Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog) program, the 1,700-square-foot structure is what NASA envisions being able to print on the Red Planet.
Mars Dune Alpha is located at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The four non-astronaut volunteers, two male and two female, consist of a research scientist, an engineer, a science officer and a medical officer. They're meant to spend one year living and working inside the structure to evaluate its feasibility:
Researchers will simulate the challenges of a human mission to Mars, including resource limitations, equipment failure, communication delays, and other environmental stressors.
"The simulation will allow us to collect cognitive and physical performance data to give us more insight into the potential impacts of long-duration missions to Mars on crew health and performance," said Grace Douglas, CHAPEA principal investigator. "Ultimately, this information will help NASA make informed decisions to design and plan for a successful human mission to Mars."
While the renders for the interior look like this…
…thus far the only image of the actual interior available at press time looked like this:
Seems odd that the person on the left gets an easy chair, and the person on the right gets a desk. I wonder if they're meant to compete for rewards, like in a reality show.