As NASA is planning to send astronauts to Mars, NASA researchers have to consider a lot of issues before the astronauts set foot on the Red Planet. One of the biggest issues is to provide them a home where they will sleep and live. Most importantly, that home should protect them from extreme temperatures and high-energy radiation.
Engineers at NASA have come with a conceptual ‘ice home’ design.
As per senior systems engineer Kevin Vipavetz from NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia, “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.”
Ice Home is an inner-tube-like device which is inflatable, and when inflated it is covered with a thick sheet of protective ice. The researchers considered ice as they feel it is probably the best building material to protect astronauts from the harsh Martian environment.
The team says, “The Mars Ice Home design has several advantages that make it an appealing concept. It is lightweight and can be transported and deployed with simple robotics, then filled with water before the crew arrives. It incorporates materials extracted from Mars, and because water in the Ice Home could potentially be converted to rocket fuel for the Mars Ascent Vehicle, the structure itself doubles as a storage tank that can be refilled for the next crew.”
Although this incredibly cool concept sounds very promising, it is still in its conceptual stage.