Visit Mars Without Leaving Earth

by Jack Sommer

As much as we are trying to save Earth for future generations, there is constant drive to explore space - and Mars in particular - as a potential new home for humans. This interest has intensified in recent years due to factors like pollution and climate change, as well as ambitious leaps in technology. 

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Bjarke Ingles is a world renowned architect and designer, featured on Netflix’s “Abstract” series on Art & Design, and who recently joined WeWork as Chief Architect. Now, he is also designing for a possible future life on Mars, aka the Red Planet.  

Ingles is not just making conceptual plans with futuristic 3D illustrations. Instead, he is experimenting with actual design/build prototypes in the deserts of United Arab Emirates (U.A.E), which have similar environmental conditions as Mars: intense temperature fluctuations, lack of water, and a lots of sand.  

This experimental project is called "Mars Science City,” and it will test everything from new building materials, food production methods, energy generation, and water harvesting techniques.

Ingles and his team are creating solutions uniquely suited to the Red Planet. For example, the process starts with pressurized inflatable material being tied to the ground to form domes, which are then dug up by robots to create underground caverns to protect life from radiation and harvest water supplies. The sand from excavations is then used to create 3D printed buildings which form a biospheres for agricultural production and completely sustain human life. The Mars Science City will serve as a first prototype and public learning center to research and educate on what life on Mars may be like. 

This isn’t only for the good of Mars either. “Those same techniques and technologies and principles are the same ones that will enable us to become great custodians of this ecosystem we currently benefit from. It’s all about resource efficiency, it’s all about circular economy, it’s all about making as much with as little as possible,” says Ingels.  Despite Elon Musk's ambitious target goals of traveling to Mars by 2022, this project may provide insights to improve our quality of life and ability to remain longer on Earth with more efficient, sustainable living practices. With $140 million focused on its development, Mars Science City is likely to also becomes one of the most unique experiences and tourist attractions on Earth as a one-of-a-kind Mars amusement park.

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