Reading Time: 3 minutesNeedless to say that modern technologies keep developing so fast and rapidly that colonization of Mars is around the corner. The main trailblazer in discovering this mysterious planet is Elon Musk with his SpaceX, he claims that humans will travel there in 10 years. SpaceX is already developing a spaceship named Starship and training future astronauts, but it hasn’t been decided yet where and how first Mars discoverers are going to live. It’s an extremely significant decision to make because astronauts will have to stay on Mars for quite a long time to finally figure one of humanity’s main mysteries. In this article, I would like to present a vision of possible accommodation on Mars.
Unlike the Earth, the red planet has no bricks and the materials used have to be durable. In 2018 NASA conducted a contest where participants had to present their prototypes of a house that can be built on Mars. There were many wonderful and unconventional projects, but the most capturing among others tends to be the Marsha prototype. The house shape reminds of a cylinder and was developed considering Mars’s features. But the main question is what materials to use in the construction of it? As I have mentioned, it’s unable to produce ordinary materials like bricks on Mars. Possible you thought that materials carried on the spaceship are the solution, but I’d say it’s almost impossible. The way to Mars is not days or months, it’s years long. That is why food and other life resources are more preferable. Although it could be some space left for constructing materials, it’s far less than required. That is why scientists started to look for natural materials of the red planet to produce durable material for accommodation.
They concluded that it’s easier as it may seem.
What materials can be used to build houses on Mars was discussed in the scientific journal Public Library of Science One. The surface of Mars is covered with soil weathered over millions of years, so-called regolith. To create at least some semblance of bricks out of it, water is needed, and scientists haven’t yet been able to find its obvious sources. Besides, now people can form materials suitable for building houses only under terrestrial conditions. And on Mars, it is necessary to come up with a way to create artificial stones and their analogs.
Recently, an interesting solution to this problem was proposed by scientists from Singapore. They suggested that the regolith could be made more flexible by mixing it with chitosan. This is the name of the substance that can be obtained from the material, which is the main component of the shells of shrimp, crabs, and some insects. The final material was named biolite. From it, scientists tried to create a smaller version of the Marsha house that I’ve mentioned before, but it was not created from scratch. Three components were 3D printed and then glued together using biolite. It turned out quite well, so we can assume that the houses of the future colonists of Mars will look like this.
Back in 2018, NASA researchers realized that some structures could be built from mushrooms. First, people build a primitive frame and then grow a special type of mushrooms under it, which wraps around the structure and takes its shape. When the structure takes its final form, the mushrooms can be heat treated and made clean and dry. In the picture, you can see that things made of mushrooms look disgusting and scary. Scientists want to make “mushroom houses” out of 3 layers. The first is mushrooms, the second is out of bacteria and the last one is ice. But they didn’t mention where to take so much water on Mars and how to prevent ice from melting.
As you can see, humanity is preparing to move to Mars. But before that, the planet must be carefully studied. In my opinion, every effort is valuable and I would never criticize a single try to invent or discover something new, especially connected to space because that moves the progress.
NASA-awarded ‘marsha’, a 3D-printed vertical martian habitat by AI spaceFactory