Design Technology X-Files

Mars Settlers Enticed With Igloo Home

Mars Settlers Enticed With Igloo Home

Ever since, there has been the buzz associated with humans going to Mars, the Red Planet, the speculations, the analysis and novel methods continue to rise. Amidst a plethora of queries and questions being asked, one question remains on the top of the list! That question is in relation to the abode of the human on Mars.

If you too have had this particular query ruling your mind, well, the scientists have already reached to an answer. The latest in design and concept has been unveiled by the researchers of NASA’s Langley Centre. The design is like that of the igloo and the resource for the same is water.

What other ideas have been discussed on?

Here is a list of some ideas, which were pondered about:

  • A show home fabricated of Martian regolith.
  • A 3D printed ice house.
  • Recycled spacecraft material making inflatable shelters.
  • Subterranean basalt shelters built by utilizing robots.
Mars Settlers Enticed With Igloo HomeWater ice would be used to fill translucent pockets around the outside of the cabins, while a cellular layer of carbon dioxide, obtained from the Martian atmosphere would be used to insulate the inside of the habitat from the ice
Mars Settlers Enticed With Igloo HomeThe igloo will feature a large inflatable inner tube
Mars Settlers Enticed With Igloo HomeWater from the igloo will be converted to rocket fuel for the return trip
Mars Settlers Enticed With Igloo HomeThe building will stand for several years

What is the significance of Langley Centre’s Ice Home?

The Langley Centre’s Ice Home works on a simple theory.

  • Utilize the resources of the planet to make a habitat
  • Protect the inhabitants from the elements
  • Protect the inhabitants from galactic cosmic rays and
  • Minimize the cost of transporting raw materials from Earth.
Mars Settlers Enticed With Igloo HomeMars Ice House is 3D printed from translucent ice which shields the crew from radiation, and transforms into a glowing beacon in the Martian night.
Mars Settlers Enticed With Igloo HomeOnce in place, an inflatable membrane is used to create an interstitial environment between the outside of the capsule and the Mars atmosphere.

The team from Space Exploration Architecture (SEArch) and Clouds Architecture Office (Clouds AO) in collaboration developed the Ice Home.

The principal investigator – Kevin Kempton, who is a part of the Langley team has declared it to be the finest solution for an early Mars outpost.

Mars Settlers Enticed With Igloo HomeLast year, the team won Nasa's 3-D Printed Habitat Challenge Design Competition with its Ice House design

What are the benefits associated with the ice home?

  1. It has an inflatable outer shell. This in turn can store water in cellular pockets. This water can be used later as a shielding material for cosmic rays. In fact, this water can later on also be converted into fuel for the Mars Ascent Vehicle.
  2. The lightweight design of the Ice Home ensures that it can be easily transported and set up by utilizing simple techniques of robotics. This enhances the feasibility associated with the same.
  3. And, yet again another benefit associated with the ice house, is that the ice would allow natural light to pass through it. This will aid in sound mental health in such a place which is different and beyond reach. Hence, the inhabitants won’t feel they are in some cave.
  4. In order to maintain indoor temperature at 72 deg Fahrenheit, carbon dioxide is utilized.
  5. Ice home has the capability to hold pressure, which is expected to be around 14.7 pounds per square inch. Hence, it will aid in a proper working atmosphere without being perplexed with respect to wearing a pressure suit all the time.

However, there are still some aspects which need working on, like:

  • How ice will extract from the ground on Mars to make these ice homes?
  • What about the ultraviolet radiation, dust storm or atomic oxygen? How will the amateur colonist deal with it?

It will indeed be interesting to witness how and what alterations go into making the first abode for the first arrivals on Mars!

Mars Settlers Enticed With Igloo Home
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