NASA Reveals Top 3 Designs for Future Mars Homes
Many astronomers believe that Mars is our best bet for space colonization. Although we have not progressed to that point yet, NASA is preparing for the possibility a little early by holding a contest for Mars home designs. NASA has now revealed the top three designs, which were required to take into account factors such as temperature, which reaches lows of -225 degrees.
The Human Beehive
Composed of hexagonal compartments, the Queen B "apartment fortress" boasts two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, a garden, a 3D print lab, and a decompression room. The hexagonal design was chosen for its potential for modular designs; plus, the compact structure is more durable and allows for less heat loss than designs with square rooms and long passageways. Since it's relatively flat, it would also be cheap and convenient to build. There would be laminated panels with depleted uranium that would shield the residents from the harsh atmosphere, although uranium is highly toxic itself, so it would need to be insulated by other materials. Heat would be generated by an underground exothermic chemical reactor.
"I have extrapolated on the idea of a fully functional apartment on Mars with all the modern amenities fitted inside 16-foot-diameter hexagons," said creator Noah Hornberger. "I think that to present Mars life to people and actually make it appealing to the public it needs to feel like home and reflect the lifestyle trends of Earth living."
The classic city, the so-called Mars Acroplis is a three-tiered structure is a steel and concrete monster that's softened slightly by the presence of multiple greenhouses for sustainable living. The greenhouses, in which all the food would be grown, make up the first level, while the second level has parking options for shuttles, as well as living quarters and research labs. There are also decompression chambers at every entrance.
"The structure serves as a mass research facility, to explore and develop means for additional colonization of the planet," said designer Chris Starr.
The third level consists of flight operations, observation posts, and a water reservoir that is purified by the time it travels to the first level. "Due to the water vapor contained in the Martian atmosphere, that vapor can be harnessed into usable liquid water, where the condensation is collected from the water vapor, which is filtered back into the reservoir," said Starr.
The Martian Pyramid
Inspired by the Pyramic of Giza, this structure is optimized to withstand the frequent dust storms. Food would be supplied using an aquaponics system, which combines aquaculture (raising aquatic animal species) with hydroponics (growing plants in water) in order to create a symbiotic ecosystem. Heat and energy would be generated using solar panels in the structure, with a nuclear backup generator just in case.
"This design focuses on looping essential systems into as many multi-functional roles as possible to ensure that the very limited resources are used and reused as much as possible," said creator Valcrow.
The design also takes into account the psychological effects of working and living in a toxic, inhospitable environment for long periods of time: "High traffic rooms all have ample natural Martian light to help with the crews extended isolation and confinement."