Life on Mars
Maybe not ours, but life nonetheless.
Life on Mars was once a distant vision, a future many of dream of a last resort when our planet is inevitably drained of its wealth of resources. While SpaceX is our current hope for our future on Mars, Vera Mulyani is focusing on the challenge of design, the CEO of “Mars City Design” having recently collated the finalists for a design competition. One vital question we have to answer is all about design.
Outside, it’s dark, with temperatures falling well below freezing to -73 degrees Celsius. Further, the fast winds and cosmic rays from the sun create intense vibrations, capable of creating cracks in small structures. But one object key to our current survival needs a viable way to grow on Mars, the Tree needs to grow.
Samer El Sayary, an architect from Beirut designed the “Tree of Life”, a name fitting with the amazing aesthetic of this design. Samer’s entry won him a finalist position in the competition, perhaps leading to his design being the first to make life on Mars viable. The design features a variety of technologies, capable of converting the intense vibrations into electricity to keep the design running, sustaining the tree. This is a much more effective method of energy generations than photovoltaic cells, or solar power as many of us are familiar with, which is dependant on sun light, a factor that is often absent on Mars. The tree is to be planted inside a thick protective shell, capable of sustaining life below freezing, capable of surviving the harsh conditions on Mars.
Mars City Design hosts yearly contests to create designs that will allow large scale cities to be built, instead of small dwellings, much like our humble beginnings on earth. This will allow civilization on Mars to start as a community, rather than as isolated habitations competing for resources.
“Our goal is to provide the required shelter while feeding the heart and soul of the inhabitants,” – This is the mission statement of Mars City Design, who hope to make a city on Mars a reality. And with the recent developments in 3D printing technology, fast, large scale prototypes can be created quickly and easily, allowing the think tank to easily trial these designs and make improvements.
Another project the think tank wishes to embark upon is the “Mars Sample (un)Return”, which aims to help gain a better understanding of building on Mars. To realistically build a Mars city in 2100, we need to be able to understand the geology of Mars, and understand the geography of the planet. To do this, this project aims to collect material samples from around Mars, allowing us to discover the best materials to use, the best place to build for access to water, and specifically what can be created from the resources of the relatively unexplored planet.
As the pioneers of our generation push forward in reaching Mars, the prospect of designing a city becomes ever more important, especially with news of competing Russian efforts as the race to the Moon is reimagined in the Race to Mars.