First City on Mars: Mind-boggling plans revealed for Nuwä which will be a sustainable home for 250,000 people
The vertical city will be built inside a cliff and is set to have 90 percent plant-based food
You could be the next Martian. Plans for the first city on the Red Planet are out as SpaceX readies itself for its first uncrewed mission to Mars that Elon Musk says will land humans there by 2026.
Plans for Nüwa, a sustainable city, were unveiled by New Jersey-based architecture studio ABIBOO, which has offices around the world, including two in the United States. Nüwa, which is the capital and one of five cities planned at Tempe Mensa in the Tharsis region on Mars, is built vertically instead of horizontally into the side of a cliff, which would diminish the effect of atmospheric pressure and radiation, the latter of which is deadly without shelter, according to a Daily Mail report.
Life on Mars
Mars is half the size of Earth. A day on the planet is similar to that on Earth since a Martian day (referred to as "sol") is approximately 40 minutes longer than a day on Earth. A trip to the Red Planet would take about six months, reports Euronews. Every two years there are a couple of weeks when the planet is the closest to Earth.
The circumstances on the planet, however, are far from friendly, with atmospheric pressures at about six millibars – tiny compared to the one bar at sea level on Earth. The atmosphere is about 100 times thinner than that of Earth and it has very little oxygen. The radiation is lethal on the surface without any shelter. Other difficulties include toxic soil, low gravity, cold temperatures and the isolation that accompanies Mars' distance from Earth.
"We had to do a lot of analysis based on computing and working with the scientists to try to understand what are the circumstances that we will face," founder of architecture studio ABIBOO, Alfredo Muñoz said to Euronews, adding "we have to face challenges that are very specific to the conditions of Mars, one of them is gravity, which is only one-third of the gravity on Earth."
Fortunately, carbon dioxide and water can be obtained on the surface. "Water is one of the great advantages that Mars offers, it helps to be able to get the proper materials for the construction. Basically, with the water and the Co2, we can generate carbon and with the carbon, we can generate steel," said Muñoz. The water on the desert dry planet, which once had rivers, lakes and seas, is currently locked up in rocks, according to the New York Times.
Nüwa - The Capital
The architecture company plans to use exclusively Martian materials for the construction of the self-sustainable city of Nüwa, located on the slope of one of the Martian cliffs with abundant water access, says ABIBOO on its website. The vertical city would include all of the mainstays of a city on Earth, including homes, offices and green spaces, all built into the side of a cliff to protect inhabitants from atmospheric pressure and radiation.
The city's name has its roots in "the mythological Chinese goddess that is the protector of Humans, who melted five stones to give robust societal pillars". Five locations were chosen instead of one to improve resilience, easy access to resources, and "to add mobility options to the citizens of Mars". Designs for the city are based on scientific research from The Mars Society and the SONet network.
Food? Eat microalgae
The highest point of the cliff is the Mesa, which is ready to contain infrastructure dedicated to manufacturing, food production, and energy generation, manned by maintenance personnel and robotics. The oxygen is set to be largely produced by plants, and food will be 90 percent plant-based, using energy that comes from solar panels.
The main source of food in the city would come from the cultivation of the crops, making for about half of people's diets, while processing carbon dioxide into oxygen and taking part in the water processing system. Although crops will provide a tastier, varied diet, microalgae would also be a vital component for the Martian diet, says the website.
"Farm animals such as pigs, chicken, or fish would also be included, but would represent a small part of the human diet: such animals are very inefficient but provide a high psychological value," it adds.
Green domes and sky lobbies
Macro-buildings, which are excavations inside the rock of the cliff, will pose as the center for main activities. The modular constructions made after tunneling will include residential and work activities. The tunnels themselves will reach the vertical wall of the cliff where artificially created natural spaces called "Green-Domes" will either act as parks for the residents or as a place to try to grow experimental vegetation.
"Sky-lobbies“ will connect the "Macro-buildings” with a separate elevating system. "A system of light trains and buses is used to move in the longitudinal direction of the cliff," the website adds.
Residents will be able to take part in much of the same recreation they do on Earth, from sports to camping to arts and crafts, which will be a critical part of Society on Nüwa. "Each Macro-Building includes Art-Domes to encourage and inspire the citizen," the website says.
When and how to get to Mars?
Those who dream of living in the Martian city should pass them on to their children and grandchildren since construction isn't projected to begin until 2054 and moving in likely won't be an option before 2100, reports the Daily Mail.
A shuttle service leaving every 26 months may be able to take people between the planets. Each trip may take anywhere from one to three months. The cost of a one-way ticket for people emigrating to Mars will be expensive and is expected to be around $300,000.
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