These future Mars habitats will be 3D printed and tested in the Mojave Desert

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Aug 8, 2016

Getting to Mars is just half the battle — astronauts will still need somewhere to stay once they get there. That’s where think tanks like Mars City Design come in.

A crowdfunding campaign raised more than $30,000, which will be used to fund a workshop for the competing finalists in the worldwide Mars City Design 2016 challenge. The competition includes competing designs from groups such as MIT, Carnegie Mellon University and Ares Astronautics. The goal: Conceptualize a sustainable city design to be used on Mars. Then they’re going to 3D-print it and test it out in the Mojave Desert. The workshop is set for Sept. 15-28.

"It is not enough to just travel to Mars and survive. Now we must develop a way in which we can sustainably live and love on Mars,” Vera Mulyani, Founder & CEO of Mars City Design, said in a statement. “It is essential that we call on a new generation of thinkers and innovators to make this a reality.”

A total of three designs have been selected for potential construction. All designs will use regolith (the layer of red dirt and rock covering the Martian surface) as building materials. Obviously, they can’t 3D print that, but they’ll at least test out the designs for feasibility.

This isn’t the first Martian design competition, but the fact that they actually want to build some of these as life-size models makes it one of the most interesting.

Check out three of the leading finalists below via Architectural Digest and let us know your favorite: