If you ever wondered how people would survive on Mars, it looks like NASA may have figured it out using something that we aren't sure we can use: underwater water or ice.
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The "Mars Ice Home" is an inflatable dome that resembles an igloo that is surrounded by a shell of ice. It is just one option of many, but it does have a lot of promise. The idea came from NASA's Langley Research Center in hopes that they could use the natural resources on Mars to build the habitat that could protect the astronauts from the elements, including high-energy radiation.
Kevin Vipavetz oversaw the designed and said that the team thought of "many crazy, out of the box ideas and finally converged on the current Ice Home design, which provides a sound engineering solution."
However, this home had an advantage in the fact that it can be transported and deployed easily and then filled with water before anyone arrives. It would also serve as a storage tank for water or maybe even used for rocket fuel, according to Phys.org.
Other concepts have included living in caves, going underground, or residing in darker habitats. The team said that the Ice Home works because it will feel more natural and allows for light: "All of the materials we've selected are translucent, so some outside daylight can pass through and make it feel like you're in a home and not a cave," said Kevin Kempton, also part of the Langley team.
Of course, they need to figure out how much water can be reasonably taken from Mars. To use the Ice Home, it would need a rate of one cubic meter, or 35.3 cubic feet, per day. This would allow the home to be filled for 400 days.
The team wanted to include larger areas so maintenance could be easier inside the home: "The materials that make up the Ice Home will have to withstand many years of use in the harsh Martian environment, including ultraviolet radiation, charged-particle radiation, possibly some atomic oxygen, perchlorates, as well as dust storms – although not as fierce as in the movie 'The Martian'," said Langley researcher Sheila Ann Thibeault.