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LIQUIFER Systems Group Gmbh

Obere Donaustraße 97/1/62

1020 Vienna / Austria

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Date: August 2015

3rd Prize in competition: NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, awarded at the 2015 World Maker Faire in New York City, 26-27 September 2015

Consortium: European Space Agency’s (ESA) European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, LIQUIFER Systems Group

LSG team: Barbara Imhof, Waltraut Hoheneder, René Waclavicek

more images here


LavaHive is a modular 3D-printed Mars habitat using a novel construction technique called ‘lava-casting’. The habitat is made from the readily available surface material found on Mars, called regolith and uses the abundant energy resource of the sun to construct the habitat.
This process is called In-situ Resource Utilisation and can allow the next stage of human exploration; once construction is virtually freed from the constraints imposed by the current approach where all necessary materials are launched from earth.
LavaHive is a multi-functional facility comprised of a main habitation unit, airlock module, maintenance workshop, docking port, laboratory and greenhouse.

The main habitation unit is comprised of an inflatable structure that is covered by the back shell of the entry capsule (used for space travel) and a sintered apron of Martian soil at its base. An airlock module, housing suitports for the ingress and egress of four crew members separates the main habitation module with a series of smaller domes where the working areas are located. The maintenance workshop and docking port, have the potential to connect to mobile, pressurized elements such as a rover. The laboratory module is fitted with a viewing cupola and houses sample exchange airlocks to analyse matter taken from the surface expeditions. The greenhouse module is foreseen to supply sufficient food for the crew and is located at the rear end of the connecting tunnel. For safety reasons all essential functions are accommodated in the habitation section.

A linear configuration of modules was decided to be the safest, most effective, and most flexible option when considering this larger scale structure. Extending the configuration in the future is foreseen for including additional docking ports or other working areas.

LavaHive was designed by a multidisciplinary team with backgrounds in the fields of Engineering, Materials science, Astrophysics and Space architecture for NASA’s Centennial Challenge Program, designed to advance the technology needed to put humans on Mars. LavaHive was awarded third prize in the competition featured at the 2015 World Maker Faire in New York City, 26-27 September 2015.


Renderings by: René Waclavicek / LIQUIFER Systems Group



Plugnmake: “From New York to Mars: NASA proclaims the winning designs of the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge at World Maker Faire 2015”

Gizmodo:  “Space Igloos, Lava Tubes and Hobbit Holes: Here Are Our Future Martian Habitats”

The Telegraph: “Top 10 Mars habitats from NASA space habitat challenge”

Popular Science:  “8 Printable Martian Habitat Designs That We Want to Live In”