What is science today, will be technology tomorrow. In the arcane universe of Mars, humans have always tried to gain a foothold. The nations of the world have descended in cut-throat competition to mark their territory. The common concern of all scientists is how habitable Mars will be for Earth-dwellers in the future?
To figure this out, NASA challenged designers and engineers to give an artist’s impression about houses in Mars that can accommodate four astronauts for up to 12 months on Mars. And the results astonished us!
NASA released a list of the top 5 Mars habitat finalists with their distinguished designs. All of them looked like poetry of impending reality to us, not exaggerating!
The team from Northwestern University, which secured the fifth place, designed an inflatable habitat that includes bedrooms separated from lab areas, living rooms, and kitchens. The major highlight of this design is that it sets the wet and dry areas apart to aid the plumbing.
The SEArch +/ Apis Cor, which secured the fourth place, came up with the idea of a radiation-defying habitat. The house will be coated with a glass-like dense shield. The shield will keep radiation at bay, without depriving the residents of natural light. In order to build habitats that stave off Mars’s radiation, scientists so far had to prepare underground designs. However, this house will have similar privileges while remaining well above the surface. This next-level thinking has really rendered us speechless!
Team Kahn-Yates, which secured the third place, furnished a revolutionary design. The house will be designed to minimise Mars’s intense dust storms. What’s more, it can also assist greenery by providing adequate free space for vegetation. To promote the growth of the vegetation, it will attract natural light through its windows. Seems like we are reading a fairy tale!
AI Space Factory, which secured the second place, produced a state-of-the-art design. The house will withstand Mars’s mutinous thermal condition. It looks like a flanged shell that is separated into different levels. In each level, there is space allotted for lifestyle requirements. The levels are way more spacious when compared to smaller confined rooms.
Team Zopherus, the first finalist, brought forth the idea of an autonomous robot equipped with 3D printing technology. It will PRINT campsites and habitats in the Martian surface! The spider-like pod will land on Mars, select the optimum print area, deploy rover robots for material gathering, and finally print the habitats. The walking lander robot will then move to create the next structure and repeat the same process. Surprisingly, most of the habitats will be printed from the materials available on the Martian surface.
The rover robots will collect Martian concrete, which is made of ice, calcium oxide, and Martian aggregate will be used for construction. In the house, there will be communal shell structure allotted for all lifestyle necessities such as exercise, meal preparation, recreation, and social interaction. From the window of the mezzanine level, you can have an expansive view of the Martian landscape. It will also provide space for a hydroponic garden aimed at growing plants and providing oxygen. In the crew shell, there will be basic amenities like a bed and a sanitation room equipped with a toilet and a shower. Moreover, there are storage cabinets too to keep things organised. Further, there is a lavatory shell replete with cutting-edge facilities like storage cabinets, a spacious middle desk. Know more amazing details about Zopherus in the video below:
Kudos to the scientists and designers who have brainstormed these path-breaking ideas. The challenge, which was first launched in 2015, is likely to finish by 2019. NASA has announced $2 million as sponsorship amount for the project.