NASA will certainly send astronauts to the Mars. Probably, one day even ordinary people will travel to the Red Planet. But, for now, the biggest concern is to provide a safe environment for astronauts, during their explorations. To achieve that goal, a bunch of engineers working every day on the sustainable habitation. Finally, it seems they have a good idea. NASA just released very interesting ice concept.
Mars Ice Dome
The surface of Mars has an extreme temperature and radiation is on a high level. Such conditions demand high-quality protection for astronomers. Researchers from NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton offered an idea that the best building material for a new home on Mars is – ice! Member of the team, senior systems engineer Kevin Vipavetz said: “After a day dedicated to identifying needs, goals, and constraints we rapidly assessed many crazy, out of the box ideas and finally converged on the current Ice Home design, which provides a sound engineering solution,” So, how exactly look these icy houses?
It can resemble on igloos a little bit. Maybe it’s not far away from it. Mars Ice Home is an inflatable, inner-tube-like device, surrounded by the thick sheet of protective ice. After artist’s rendering it looks like this:
The advantages of building such an icy home are numerous. These houses can be easily transported, due to their lightweight. Also, it can be easily deported and filled with water. As the water on Mars could be converted into the rocket fuel, the houses itself can be used as a fuel tank. All of these could be done with simple robotics. The shell of water ice is very important for a radiation protection. It is a perfect shielding material for galactic cosmic rays. These rays are actually the biggest problem for long staying on the Mars. Cosmic rays can damage cells and increase the risk of cancer or radiation sickness.
Many areas of Mars contain ice water under the surface. Experts for extracting resources on Mars have calculated that is feasible to fill the houses 35.3 cubic feet, per day. According to this calculations, the entire Ice Design would be filled within 400 days. As for the temperature management inside the home, it is planned to be used carbon dioxide, which is also available on Mars.
Although it is not the only concept for sustainable habitation on Mars, it looks very promising. Mars Ice Home seems to have a solution for all problems that are expected when you step on the Mars.