NASA Designs “Mars Ice Dome” For Future Explorers

Jan 02, 2017

According to past reports, the surface of Mars has extreme and erratic geographical conditions, which make survival difficult. Researchers at NASA’s Langley Research Centre in Virginia have discovered the best building material to protect astronauts from these weather conditions: ice.

"Mars Ice Dome," covered in a shell of water ice, is one of many potential concepts for sustainable habitation on the Red Planet, which will need to “withstand many years of use in the harsh martian environment, including ultraviolet radiation, charged-particle radiation, possibly some atomic oxygen, perchlorates (and dust storms),” stated Langley researcher Sheila Ann Thibeault.

The dome’s several features have dealt with these issues: lightweight structure, portable and easily deployable and refillable. Additionally, water being a hydrogen-rich material, is an excellent shielding material for galactic cosmic rays.

Experts who develop systems for extracting resources on Mars have indicated that it is possible to fill the habitat at a rate of one cubic metre per day, which allows the Ice Home design to be completely filled in 400 days, further implying that the design could be scaled up if water is extracted at higher rates.

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