From caves to domed habitats, NASA is looking at just about every option for where we’ll set up shop once we eventually make it to Mars. But the latest option might just be the coolest (pun intended).
Developed by designers from the Clouds Architecture Office and Space Exploration Architecture (SEArch), the Mars Ice House is basically an igloo constructed from the ice already native to Mars. The plan would be to utilize robots to build the habitats, and NASA liked the idea so much they awarded the Mars Ice House first place in a design competition for 3-D printed habitats made for future human inhabitants of Mars. It’s obviously one of the most outside-the-box options, but NASA sees the merit. We see the merit, and the awesomeness.
The design is basically a shell within a shell, with a main dwelling “inside” and a “yard” within the outer shell. The hope is that the design would help provide some familiarity for future astronauts by maintaining the idea of an accessible area outside the main dwelling. There’s also the fact that the habitat would be built from ice, so it would allow in natural light (cut down on those Martian utility bills!).
The grand plan would call for two robots. One would mine the ice, and the other would place it in layers to construct the habitat. Ideally, the robots would have an entire habitat built before the first human explorer sets foot on the planet. Presto: an entire neighborhood ready to roll.
What do you think of the ice house? Would you like to move in at some point in a few decades?