Meeting Melodie Yashar, Co-founder of SEArch+

Winners of the NASA Centennial Challenges 3D Printed Habitat Competition, SEArch+ (Space Exploration Architecture) is a group dedicated to developing human-supporting concepts for space exploration. The design of their winning submission, Mars Ice House, was inspired by NASA’s  “follow the water” into a magnificent 3D- Printed Habitat made of water-ice.

The vertical multi-level dwelling for four is situated at the center of double-printed ice shells against an outermost layer of transparent EFTE, and with the lander core—defining the pressure-volume and serving as a radiation barrier for the human and plant life within. Mars Ice House celebrates the human presence as luminous and light-filled beacon on the shallow northern slopes of Mars’s Alba Mons. SEArch+ collaborated with Clouds AO to NASA’s Phase 1 Centennial Challenge for a 3D-Printed Habitat on Mars. Fifteen leading space and technology subject-matter experts (SMEs) consulted on the project, including scientists, geophysicists, ice experts, structural engineers, roboticists, and 3D-printing engineers. The design process was iterative and constantly informed by feedback from relevant consultants and advisors.

SOLIDWORKS spoke with Melodie Yashar, co-founder and member of SEArch+, about their accomplishments, the team, and more. Melodie is currently leading SEArch+ in efforts to develop functional technologies for 3D-printing human habitats on Mars. She is a designer and researcher originally from Los Angeles, and based in New York. While her main talents and interests lie in spatial design, Melodie’s work operates at the intersection of experiential, narrative, and interaction design practices. She prides herself in being a conceptual designer capable o­­­­­f developing a project from its schematic phases to final realization and fabrication.

Melodie received an M. Arch from Columbia University, studied Environmental and Product Design at Art Center College of Design, and Rhetoric at UC Berkeley. She is also co-founder of the media collective Sonic Platforms. A combined interest in architecture and industrial design has refined a special interest in the design of interior systems considering the corporeality of the human body, user experience, and user interface design.

With over a decade long association with NASA’s Johnson Space Center’s Human Habitability Division and Langley Research Center, the mission of SEArch+ (Space Exploration Architecture) is to conceive, investigate, and produce innovative “human–centered” designs which will enable and support manned habitats not only to live but, to thrive in space environments beyond Earth.

Originally founded as SEARC in 1996 at New York City’s Columbia University by the late architect and professor Yoshiko Sato, SEArch+ seeks to honor her pioneering legacy of teaching and passion for space and design with the active pursuit of projects in collaboration with leading aerospace and robotic experts, astronauts, scientists, and engineers and so many others to make visions into reality. SEArch+ is currently comprised of Christina Ciardullo, Kelsey Lents, Michael Morris, Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman, and Melodie Yashar.

When asked about the team’s interested in SOLIDWORKS, Melodie tells us, “I learned SOLIDWORKS while studying industrial design at Art Center College of Design, several years ago. We are currently using research licenses to develop and conceive prototypes of print-heads nozzles for 3D-printing. At the moment, we are investigating a range of materials suitable for 3D-printing human habitats on Mars, and intend to derive an adequate material combination that might approximate indigenous regolith (Martian soil) conditions”.

She continues, “This work is being done in collaboration with a number of material scientists and consultants, and together we’ve assembled a team for engineering our new material. The materials research goes hand-in-hand with the development of the print-head nozzle we are developing in SOLIDWORKS. We are eager and excited to test our prototypes and materials as the development of our project advances”. 

Thank you Melodie and SEArch+ for sharing your wonderful story with the SOLIDWORKS Community! We wish you all the best!

Aanchal Singh

Aanchal Singh

I am currently an intern at SOLIDWORKS, and an MBA student at Boston University's Questrom School of Business. I love travelling and distance running.