“Contour Crafting: Automated Construction” is a TEDtalk by Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California. In it he talks about the future of 3D printing technology applied to housing construction.

3D printing is an additive processes, where an object is created by laying down successive layers of material. Using cement-type materials the printer builds up all the elements of an architectural structure layer by layer – building any structure, from houses to skyscrapers.

This technique allows for a new freedom in architectural design, less constrained by conventional building methods. It’s also quick (a simple structure could be completed in under 24 hours), inexpensive, requires minimal labour with minimal wasted materials.

What does this have to do with housing on Mars?

The website www.contourcrafting.org has detailed info about this process and has a page devoted to building on other planets.

The 21st century will find the human race hurtling out of our orbit and colonizing other worlds in our solar system. This worthy endeavor will not only provide us with new knowledge and understanding of our universe but will be the first big step in securing our species survival… Contour Crafting technology has the potential to build safe, reliable, and affordable lunar and Martian structures, habitats, laboratories, and other facilities before the arrival of human beings.

(Wow are we going to have to move our species to Mars to survive?)