Ever wondered what life in Mars could look like? Well, to get the answers you seek, just ask a “Marschitect,” like Vera Mulyani, who founded Mars City Design – a think tank (of sorts) that is aimed at developing blueprints for the first self-sustaining city on Mars.
Mulyani’s group raised $30,382 on Kickstarter to build three 3D-printed to-scale habitat prototypes of Martian cities at Reaction Research Society’s test area in the Mojave Desert.
Select engineers, designers, and architects from all over the world will gather at a workshop at the University of Southern California in September to plan the exciting features of the first cities on Mars.
Mulyani says their project is “macro to micro,” which means the team will first explore how an entire city would function as a whole then trickle down into individual habitats. They hope to start with a base of four people on Mars and then ultimately grow it to a city of 1,000.
The workshop will be attended by Jim Erickson, project manager of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover, and Madhu Thangavelu, a professor at the Viterbi School of Engineering, and Apollo 11 pilot Buzz Aldrin, among many others.
From 25 design entries, the Mars City Design team shortlisted three finalists with the best prototypes to be 3D-printed. Some of the designs include Neurosynthesis: an urban settlement with a closed river system and an artificial Martian waterfall; Project Dandelion: an autonomous habitat that uses regolith to provide a sustainable source of oxygen, water, energy and nutrition; Vertical Farms: sustainable farming to limit the reliance on sporadic supply runs from Earth; and Instant Structure: a laser explosion technology to rapidly create constructions as immediate solutions to natural disasters or war.
Mulyani says their team sees Mars as an opportunity to think long-term and plan sustainable cities, something we didn’t do with Earth.