Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageIce homes designed for people to live in on Mars

By Arthur Weinreb     Dec 22, 2016 in Science
The first humans to go to Mars may end up living in igloos or ice homes, built from the huge ice deposits found beneath the planet’s surface. The ice home would be a cost effective structure allowing space for four people to live and work in.
A Mars ice home is being designed by the NASA Langley Engineering Design Studio located in Hampton, Virginia. By constructing homes out of materials found on the Red Planet, there will be no need to transport construction materials from Earth. Langley investigator Kevin Kempton said his team is confident the ice home is the best solution to constructing an outpost on Mars.
The Utopia Planitia region of Mars has been examined by NASA’s Reconnaissance Orbiter. After making more than 600 passes over the area, scientists determined last month the area has about as much water under the surface as Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes. The ice, in an area larger than New Mexico, has ice that varies from 260 feet thick to a thickness of 560 feet. The composition of the ice varies from between 50 and 85 percent frozen water with the rest made up of dust and rock.
The frozen water used in the construction of the ice homes would do a lot to protect occupants from galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) that can damage the health of space travelers. The ice will protect humans from GCRs much better than enclosures made with conventional materials. The only alternative living quarters previously designed were those that would be built below the surface of the planet to protect the inhabitants from the dangerous cosmic rays.
Carbon dioxide, found on the Red Planet, will also be used in construction of the ice home to help insulate the habitat. Regolith, or dirt found on the Martian surface, would also be used in building the ice homes. The use of ice and water will render the homes translucent, allowing natural light to come in from the sun’s rays.
The design of the ice home will be such it will house four people. The structure will contain separate areas for sleep, work, preparing food and recreation. There will also be room for a greenhouse. The ice homes will be pressurized and heated to a temperature of 72 degrees F. The work area will allow astronauts to repair equipment without the necessity of wearing pressure suits that can make physical work awkward. All astronauts will have to wear in an ice home is a light environment suit so they don’t breathe in toxic dust found on the equipment they are working on.
By making an ice home, all construction materials can be found on Mars. This saves the difficulty and expense of transporting materials from Earth to the Red Planet. Only food will have to be sent from Earth and this will be freeze dried to save space and transportation costs.
More about Mars, NASA, ice homes, Water on mars, galactic cosmic rays