Tonight Neil Leach gave us a lecture challenging the negative attitude towards technology and computation in general and digital fabrication in particular – an attitude that is still prevalent in certain architectural circles-, and argued instead for a more receptive approach based on the ideas of Gilles Deleuze. The lecture went on to look at some of the latest developments in digital fabrication, including two NASA sponsored research projects to develop a robot to fabricate structures on the Moon and Mars.

USC Won Prestigious NASA Research Award for the Moon and Mars

As NASA’s Curiosity rover successfully touches down on Mars, USC professors have won a highly prestigious NASA research award to develop new robotic construction technologies for building structures on the Moon and Mars. Professors Behrokh Khoshnevis (Engineering), Anders Carlson (Architecture), Neil Leach (Architecture) and Madhu Thangavelu (Astronautics) have been awarded a Phase 2 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts [NIAC] research award for a project entitled, ‘ISRU Based Robotic Construction Technologies for Lunar and Martian Infrastructure’. The project is based on the concept of ‘In Situ Resource Utilization’ [ISRU], and seeks to use resources readily available on the Moon and Mars as construction materials for novel robotic construction technologies in order to build infrastuctural elements, such as roads, landing pads, blast walls and storage spaces. The project builds upon the success of an earlier NIAC Phase 1 award won by the team for a project entitled, ‘Contour Crafting Simulation Plan for Lunar Settlement Infrastructure’.


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