When NASA astronauts arrive in Mars in a few years, they will have to live in something. The latest space agency idea is an ice habitat that will provide shelter from unfavorable conditions on the planet.
For some time, NASA has been working on a manned Mars expedition project that will allow scientists to get to know the planet, which has been studied for several years by advanced rovers. However, such a mission requires enormous preparation, because many issues need to be resolved first, and the most important one is to provide shelter to astronauts.
This is a particularly big problem, since delivering one kilogram of cargo at such a distance is extremely costly. It is impossible to take with you building materials and you have to come up with something else. Ideally, it would be possible to build a shelter of materials available on site and such an idea is provided by NASA engineers.
Experts at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, have presented a concept called “Mars Ice Home,” one of the ideas for building astronaut refuge. The project is based on an inflatable torus surrounded by a crust of frozen water.
The advantage of this design is the small weight of the habitat and its ease of transport. The undeniable advantage is also that it can be built by not very complicated robots sent before the main mission, and then will be waiting for the arrival of astronauts. Another plus is that the water from which the walls of such shelter can be used can then be used to produce rocket fuel for the lander, so it can serve as a fuel tank for another expedition that will go to Mars. The entire structure would take about 400 days, so this is an obstacle that needs to be resolved.
The advantage of this habitat is to protect people from cosmic radiation, which is deadly to living organisms and can cause cancer. The thick layer of ice is perfect for this role.