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WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

Space agencies are eyeing up colonies on Mars – and they’re going to need awesome habitats.

 

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So far I’ve seen all manner of Martian habitats and concepts – from the run of the mill, and amazing, 3D printed habitats like the Mars Vernacular and Dubai’s Mars Dune colony, all the way through to weirder habitats that are literally grown from fungi. Now though, as we look forward to NASA’s Artemis Program to send humans back to the Moon, and eventually Mars, there’s yet another new concept – robot built inflatable habitats.

 

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For years, humanity has dreamt of what the Red Planet might offer and hopefully we’ll see humans land there within our lifetimes. But unlike other space missions though these humans might not come back to Earth for years and NASA has already made its decision on where they’ll stay during this time.

 

Check out the new habitats

 

NASA began planning on building a human habitat on Mars many years ago and even launched a public challenge back in 2014 to shortlist design concepts. Open to civilian designers the challenge sought ideas for 1,000 square feet (92.9 sq. m) of living space that could support four astronauts for up to a year.

 

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Previous space missions have focused on providing only essential requirements, but when you are 245 million miles or 374 million km, away from home you might need a lot more than just essentials. And now, years later, NASA have finally picked their top design which was submitted by Hassel Studio, an architectural firm, and Eckersley O’Callaghan, an engineering design team.

As you can see their submission is quite unlike any of the other concepts we’ve seen so far and oddly for such an important building it doesn’t  stand out on the Martian surface, but there’s a good reason for that.

The Martian surface is nothing as favourable as the one we have on Earth, so the team suggest using swarms of robots to construct the buildings outer shell first before the astronauts arrive so they’ll be protected from the planet’s fierce radiation and dust storms.

 

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Versatile in their function, these robots could work individually or in swarms to accomplish the tasks finishing with the construction of the shell – which is likely to be achieved through 3D printing. Then, once the outer shield is ready, the plan would be to let the astronauts arrive with inflatable pods that they simply inflate in situ and which will be their home away from home.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, Viacom, and WIRED, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.

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