Back in May 2015, NASA started the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, one of the many of such technological challenges the space agency has initiated to stimulate the advance of technology. The goal was to create a design to 3D print habitats that would be suitable for living on Mars. According to 3DPrint.com, even though the competition was reserved solely for American teams, a French design firm, called Fabulous, put forward its own idea.
The design is based on two facts about Martian soil that have already been uncovered by previous space probes. First, it contains a great deal of iron oxide, a substance that gives Martian soil its red color. Second. A layer of permafrost is thought to exist deep beneath the surface.
The French concept involves robots burrowing through the Martian soil, extracting the iron. Then the iron is used to create a double-layered dome with 3D printing. The other robots extract the water from the permafrost and place it in a layer between the two iron layers. The water serves as insulation and shield against the radiation that bathes the Martian surface because Mars has a thin atmosphere and lacks a strong magnetic field.