New Ways to Colonize Mars

Dr. Philip Metzger - Photo courtesy of Nick Russett

Dr. Philip Metzger – Photo courtesy of Nick Russett

Two researchers at the University of Central Florida were featured in an article published by The Atlantic titled ‘The Low-Tech Way to Colonize Mars.”

The article focuses on the research conducted by Philip Metzger, Ph.D., an associate in planetary science research at the Florida Space Institute, and his team. Daniel Britt, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Physics, is also featured. The article, written by Sarah Zhang, was posted on October 18, 2016.

The Low-Tech Way to Colonize Mars

NASA researchers are modeling Martian settlements after early American colonists.

By Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic

Philip Metzger has been playing with mud. Experimenting, you could say, as he’s a planetary scientist at the University of Central Florida and co-founder of NASA’s Swamp Works lab. In any case, his lab has been stuffing Martian clay into cupcake decorating bags and extruding it into what Metzger himself admits sometimes look like an “animal dropping.”

But one man’s cupcake decorating with mud is another man’s prototyping of 3D-printing on Mars. And 3D-printing could solve the single biggest hurdle to a crewed Mars expedition: the cost of transporting everything humans need to survive on the red planet.

NASA is all aboard the 3D-printing train. Last year, it unveiled winners of its first 3D-printed Mars habitat design challenge, and the architectural renders of the winning entries were all sleek and futuristic, as renders of unbuilt buildings always are (see above). In reality, the current state of the art for Martian 3D-printing looks more like the clay logs Metzger has been documenting on Twitter.

Read the full article on The Atlantic’s website. 


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