Architects envision an underground colony on Mars

Illustration for article titled Architects envision an underground colony on Mars

When humans finally travel to Mars, what will their first buildings look like? ZA Architects envision an underground colony with spiderweb floors spun from basalt fibers.

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ZA's proposal involves sending robots ahead of a human expedition to drill into the basalt-rich soil of Mars, creating caverns for underground human settlement. Human astronauts would then complete the construction. Skylights would sit at the surface, providing light for the human dwellers as well as feeding light into agricultural cavities. The caverns would have multiple levels, with the floors made out of basalt fibers, made by extruding molten basalt, and woven into netting by robots.

In an interview with Dezeen, Arina Ageeva, one of the architects behind this proposal, acknowledges that the robotics they envision for the project don't currently exist, but Ageeva believes that it wouldn't be far-fetched to see robots capable of executing this project in the next decade.

Mars Colonization [ZA Architects via Dezeen]

Illustration for article titled Architects envision an underground colony on Mars
Illustration for article titled Architects envision an underground colony on Mars
Illustration for article titled Architects envision an underground colony on Mars
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DISCUSSION

Um... Perhaps. The thing is the cavern system would have to be isolated. There'd have to be fail-safes in place for each "skylight" area. Otherwise you've got a disaster if even one fails. And forgive me if I'm incorrect, but the caverns would need to be coated with a substance to seal the rock. The rocks have a significant porous surface area that would allow air to diffuse through the structure and to the surface.

Other than that, underground is the way to go on Mars and the Moon. Natural radiation shielding. The technique could be piloted on the moon, and the machines could get real experience in automated construction techniques. The moon is far superior a place for this process to be tested because A) the environment is harsher on the equipment due to the soil composition and lack of atmosphere for cooling and radiation shielding. B) going to the moon makes sense as a precursor to going to Mars. C) a lunar colony system would be able to support deep space exploration launches at a fraction of the cost of earth launches. D) the colony would be within the realm of reason for "rescue" should there be a serious issue in the colony.

Of course, I believe we should be looking to colonize the entire solar system. Eggs... basket... we need a few more baskets.