Whether it’s via NASA, Elon Musk’s “Big Fucking Rocket” or some human/alien exchange program, we’re eventually getting to Mars. It’ll happen because we’ve been talking for decades about one day inhabiting the red planet, and there are enough geniuses in this world to eventually make David Bowie proud and figure out a solution.
Maybe it happens in seven years, as Musk has promised. Perhaps it happens in 100. Hey, it could happen tomorrow if the Martians are feeling charitable and want to expedite the swap. But whenever we do colonize Mars, at least we now have an idea of what the living sitch might look like up there.
Mars City Design, a competition that invites creative types to figure out how to build sustainable cities on Mars within the next century, just revealed the winners of 2017’s contest. A team of nine MIT students captured first place in the architecture category, and if their imaginative winning concept pans out, you should be looking to book your ticket to space, stat.
The MIT team’s “Redwood Forest” is a series of bubble-like domes in the vein of Disney World’s signature Epcot attraction, Spaceship Earth. Each dome houses up to 50 people — the community can hold up to 10,000 — but the pioneers wouldn’t live inside the bubbles. Instead, the structure is designed to be a shelter for trees and water, sourced from the planet’s northern plains, with the real action taking place below Mars’ surface.
There would be a series of tunnels beneath each dome — dubbed the “roots” — that lead to private living spaces and connect with other domes. As this press release astutely points out, the underground tunnels will also protect against, oh you know, cosmic radiation, micrometeorite impacts and extreme thermal variations, in case you’re wondering why you can’t live in the giant dome itself, much fun as that seems. Don’t be selfish, man. You’re on Mars now.