Mars City Design

Mars City Design is a collaboration of engineers, architects and visionaries with a goal of taking steps toward realising the technology requires to sustain human civilisation on Mars. Described as a ‘Human Movement’ it was born from the vision of Vera Mulyani, who always dreamt of becoming an architect of Mars. Their mission is mission is to design the blueprint for sustainable cities on Mars.

The Mars City Design Competition has taken entries from around the world, with the top 3 invited to develop their ideas further at a summer workshop held at the University of Southern California in September 2016. The workshop which will features speakers such as Buzz Aldrin will be an opportunity to advance the design and be part of the exhibition.

Among the concepts from the 25 finalists are unique projects as “Neurosynthesis,” which includes a closed river system and even an artificial waterfall; “Project Dandelion,” which uses the planet’s soil to provide sustainable oxygen and water; and “The Mars Living Machine,” which explores how extreme environments like Mars will help shape architecture.

“What we’re trying to do in our workshop is to experiment,” project creator and self-proclaimed “Marschitect” Vera Mulyani told Digital Trends. “The gravity on Mars is different, so the density of the building materials will be different. It’s not about an architectural project that just looks cool; we have to see how far we can push 3D printing by experimenting [with] new ingredients for the paste and eventually building in some of the most extreme places on Earth. We want to learn how we can modify what we have today so that we can use it on Mars. Once we have that answer, we can improve our tools.”

The next step will be to 3D Print these concepts and test them in one of the most inhospitable places on earth  most inhospitable places on Earth – the Mojave Desert. 3D printing and additive manufacturing could make colonisation possible because the capacity to fabricate just about anything require in-situ from the few raw materials found on the planet and the few raw materials that could be transported will be essential for a self-sustaining colony. Having raised almost $30,000 on kickstarter to make the Mojave dream a reality it will allow the finalists to begin to replicate the requirements for humans to colonise Mars.

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Mars Expeditions

In June and July of 2003 NASA launched two robot rovers with goal of gathering information about the little understood planet Mars. Previous expeditions offered us a lot of details, but they have been few and fleeting visits and not nearly enough information has been accumulated yet.

The rovers, Spirit and Chance were expected to last 90 Martian days at best, but after greater than 1000 Martian days on, they were still going strong.

At only 180 kg each they brought batteries, communication tools, and photovoltaic panels and used expert systems that enabled them to refuse to do what their controllers told them, if they really felt an activity would be dangerous. They lasted greater than 10 times the period initially intended and tripping across a range of greater than 10 miles of the Martian surface.

The first one to make it to the surface of Mars was the rover nicknamed Spirit. Spirit landed on Mars January 4th, 2004 in a crater 10km from the target. Spirit made several vital discoveries. From its start in the crater, it has actually found many rocks of volcanic origin and also the activity of subsurface water on these rocks. Spirit found patches of soil with a high salt material that has the tendency to be caused by the previous visibility of water. It found additionally one especially fascinating rock, nicknamed Humphrey, a volcanic-like rock formed perhaps by lava. It had actually vibrantly coloured, mineralised parts inside, that would probably be frommed from water passing over it, before or sometime after the rock was developed. This finding dispelled uncertainties from lots of researchers whether water existed or otherwise on Mars a long time in the past.

Spirit not only helped us comprehend a lot more geological and physical elements of Mars – Spirit took the first picture of Earth from the surface of another planet. Spirit also took night-time pictures of the of the moons as well as Mercury and was fortunate to capture a lunar eclipse of the Mars’ moon Phobos.

Chance, the second rover to make it to the surface of Mars, landed 21 days after Spirit on January 25th, 2004 on the other side of the red planet. Chance evaded rocks in craters probably caused by sulphite abundant sands from vaporized lakes compressed and forced to the surface and then eroded by wind as well as water. Again proof that water once existed on Mars.

The two rovers have sent back many images of the Martian surface in both grey-scale and colour. These are both lovely and scenic images. Equipped with a geological package as well as motorised rock tools, they were able to look below the surface to uncover even more than  thought possible.

All these new discoveries have boosted our space exploration expertise while at the same time enhancing the our knowledge Mars. However the questions still remain. Why did the water vanish? Did life once exist on Mars? Could human beings survive on the planet?