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NASA Conceptualizes The 'Mars Ice Home' To House The Future Mars Explorers

First Posted: Jan 02, 2017 03:19 AM EST
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NASA researchers come up with a concept that could house the future Mars explorers. They named it "Mars Ice Home."

The researchers from NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia stated that the best building material for a new home on Mars may lie in an unexpected material in the form of an ice. They further stated that "Mars Ice Home" is one of many potential concepts for sustainable habitation on planet Mars in support of NASA's journey to the Red Planet.

Kevin Vipavetz, Langley senior systems engineer, said that after a day dedicated to identifying needs, goals and constraints, they rapidly assessed many crazy, out of the box ideas and finally converged on the current Ice Home design, which provides a sound engineering solution. The ice home is a big inflatable torus that is surrounded by a shell of water ice and lightweight. It could be transported and deployed with simple robotics. It will be filled with water before the crew arrives, according to NDTV.

The ice home will protect the astronauts from radiation. It will also serve as a storage tank for water that could be used by the Mars explorers. This water could also be potentially converted to rocket fuel for the proposed Mars Ascent vehicle. The ice home could be refilled for the next crew. According to experts, a habitat could be filled with a rate of 1 cubic meter or 35.3 cubic feet per day. This could be filled the Ice Home design in 400 days, according to Phys.Org.

Kevin Kempton, a part of the Langley team, said that all the materials they have selected are translucent, so some outside daylight can pass through and make it feel like one is in a home and not a cave. Sheila Ann Thibeault, one of Langley researchers, said that the materials that make up the ice home should withstand many years of use in the harsh Martian environment. This includes 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. 

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