NASA engineers recently unveiled an innovative Mars habitat concept that relies on a thick layer of ice as shield against cosmic rays.
Here at HEXAPOLIS, we have talked quite a bit about the different Mars habitat concepts that designers and scientists have come up over the years. There was the innovative Ouroboros dwelling, conceived by MIT students as part of NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, which is built using the Red Planet’s silica reserves. The Sfero House is somewhat similar, with its outer structure made from iron ore extracted from the Martian soil.
NASA has recently unveiled yet another futuristic habitat concept, this time in the form of an ‘ice home’. According to the team, the inflatable dome resembles an igloo in design, in that it is actually covered in a thick layer of ice to protect the astronauts from the alien planet’s harsh surface conditions, including high temperatures and intense solar radiation. Speaking about the project, Kevin Vipavetz of Virginia-based Langley Research Center said:
After a day dedicated to identifying needs, goals, and constraints we rapidly assessed many crazy, out of the box ideas and finally converged on the current Ice Home design, which provides a sound engineering solution.
Lack of running water, extremely low temperatures and strong dust storms make Mars a hostile planet, while its thin carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere accounts for the presence of high-energy cosmic rays that could easily destroy cells as well as cause serious health issues, including respiratory problems and even cancer. The newly-conceptualized structure, dubbed as the Mars Ice Home, is designed to shelter the occupants from the planet’s severe conditions. The team added: