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Architecture on Mars

Are you ready to live on Mars? Plans have already started in preparing Mars, now deemed as the most habitable planet in our solar system after Earth, to be our future home. From observatories, laboratories, space research centres, and space stations, we’re now designing actual houses and cities to welcome humans to Mars.

Most Martian homes are being designed as modular structures built using robotics, various 3D printing technologies, and regolith additive construction techniques which use Martian or lunar soil as the main construction material. These practical and feasible design criteria were established by NASA in their 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, which started in 2015 as a design competition for engineers and architects to propose designs for extra-terrestrial habitats. More than being just habitable spaces, these structures had to withstand extreme environmental conditions, high solar radiation, and micrometeorite showers. Let’s have a look at some of the promising projects on architecture on Mars.

Hugh Broughton Architects and Pearce+ have created a prototype of an inflatable house of gold named Martian House. This extra-terrestrial habitat is designed to be a biologically solidified regolith structure with a gold polymer-coated nylon fabric exterior, and a lower underground level. Gold being a noble metal would help in dissipating the heat and making the house more comfortable for humans.

With the experience of working on the Lunar Habitation project, renowned architecture firm Foster + Partners unveiled their design of extra-terrestrial habitats in 2015. Their proposal explains the entire construction process on Mars beginning with the deployment of autonomous robots equipped with the tools and AI to select the site, excavate 1.5m deep craters, print the 93-square-metre structures, and finally fuse them permanently to the ground using microwaves.

Malaysian architects Warith Zaki and Amir Amzar have a very different approach towards Martian architecture, proposing a colony built from bamboo harvested on the red planet. The project named SOL – Seed Of Life, demonstrates robots weaving bamboo into habitable structures, suggesting a method of on-site construction using local materials on Mars.

Although these are all just design concepts for now, research is being done into their feasibility and other practical explorations in extra-terrestrial architecture. Moreover, with various Mars habitat projects and space travel options like SpaceX developing, some of us may soon get to experience living on a new home planet.

Written by K. C. Sabreena Basheer

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