Advancing Design-To-Robotic-Production and -Assembly of Underground Habitats on Mars

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review


In order for off-Earth top surface structures built from regolith to protect astronauts from radiation, they need to be several metres thick. In a feasibility study, funded by the European Space Agency, Technical University Delft (TUD aka TU Delft) explored the possibility of building in empty lava tubes to create rhizomatic subsurface habitats. With this approach natural protection from radiation is achieved as well as thermal insulation because the temperature is more stable underground. It involves a swarm of autonomous mobile robots that survey the areas and mine for materials such as regolith in order to create cement-based concrete reproducible on Mars through in-situ resource utilisation (ISRU). The concrete is 3D printed by means of additive Design-to-Robotic-Production (D2RP) methods developed at TUD for on-Earth applications with the 3D printing system of industrial partner, Vertico. The printed components are assembled using a Human--Robot Interaction (HRI) supported approach. The 3D printed and HRI-supported assembled structures are structurally optimised porous material systems with increased insulation properties. In order to regulate the indoor pressurised environment a Life Support System (LSS) is integrated, which in this study is only conceptually developed. The habitat and the D2RP production system are powered by an automated kite power system and solar panels developed at TUD. The long-term goal is to develop an autarkic, automated and HRI-supported D2RP system for building autarkic habitats from locally obtained materials.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdaptive On- and Off-Earth Environments
EditorsAngelo Cervone, Henriette Bier, Advenit Makaya
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-50081-7
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-50080-0
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Publication series

NameSpringer Series in Adaptive Environments
ISSN (Print)2522-5529
ISSN (Electronic)2522-5537

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


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