Preliminary Design Explorations for Human Colonies on Mars

Preliminary Design Explorations for Human Colonies on Mars

Meenakshi Piplani1, Tarun Kumar2

1M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore, India; 2Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India

Human habitation on Earth has been characterized by unchecked exploitation of Earth’s resources at alarming rates, with some experts alluding at a sixth extinction, that of Mankind. Thus, it is inevitable that humans coupled with their insatiable urge for exploration, will one day colonize other planets. Mars is a prime candidate in this adventurous mission of establishing self-sufficient colonies, as it has water albeit in frozen state. Mars is an extremely cold planet, with temperatures dropping as low as -140’C in polar winter, but an almost pleasant 20’C in tropic summers. The atmosphere of Mars is 95.7% carbon di oxide and only 0.2% oxygen. The surface is also subjected to solar winds and the gravitational forces are three times lower than Earth’s gravity.

This paper aims to study the unique conditions on Mars, to propose preliminary design solutions for the establishment of human colonies. We have probed into the available literature and proposals of designs in Earth’s polar ice caps, as these maybe adaptable to Mars. A comparative analysis of the conditions on Earth vis-`a-vis Mars is drawn up to scrutinize the design potential among them and propose various designs based on them. Moreover, simulations to test the designs were conducted to arrive at an optimum solution.

Thus, it is found that, in light of the impending colonization of Mars, perhaps in our lifetime, it is imperative that research in designs of human settlements in Mars is conducted. Colonizing a new planet from scratch, provides the immense opportunity to devise sustainable methods of inhabiting it. Therefore, we’re trying to explore various types of settlements and designs that are possible on Mars.