AI SpaceFactory
© AI SpaceFactory via NASA
Man's future missions to Mars may see humans housed in incredible 3D-printed pod-like structures, according to a futuristic design project that scooped a $500,000 NASA prize.

Proposed by New York-based company AI SpaceFactory, the strange structure is designed to be printed from recycled substances and materials found on-site during deep space explorations to the moon, Mars or beyond, to build sustainable housing for adventuring humans.

AI SpaceFactory emerged the victor after a scaled-down model of their project came out on top after several rounds of vigorous NASA testing earlier this month, including undergoing extreme compression checks. The winning team says they recognized that such "structures must be resilient and interior layouts must function around mission demands" while also supporting sustainability and providing a habitat with "an element of humanity."
An image depicting astronauts inside the proposed structure
© AI SpaceFactory via NASA
An image depicting astronauts inside the proposed structure.
The competitors are helping NASA "advance the technologies we need for a sustainable human presence on the moon, and then on Mars,"said Monsi Roman, program manager for the space agency's Centennial Challenges.

As well as supporting the space agency's exploration goals, such projects "also provide viable housing solutions right here on Earth," she added.