There may be answer to London’s chronic housing shortage. Potential inhabitants should like red, austerity, solitude – and a long commute to work.
The Royal Observatory, Greenwich , has opened the first show home of its kind – revealing what life on Mars would be like.
The regolith (Martian soil) habitat set in 2037 is based on the investigations of with the Observatory’s astronomers and Stephen Petranek, author of How We’ll Live On Mars, the inspiration for Ron Howard’s new mini-series Mars , which premieres this Sunday at 9pm on National Geographic.
The Mars Show Home lands in the capital as it is revealed that Earth is losing its allure – or at least the trials of Mars appear romantic rather than formidable.
Almost 30% of us would consider living on Mars in our lifetime and a quarter would be happy with a one-way ticket.
The most common reason for wanting to move to Mars was Earth getting overcrowded (31.3%) followed by pure adventure (31.1%), with global warming and environmental issues a close third. The risk of death, the six months journey and missing family are the greatest drawbacks.
As plans for Mars habitation gather momentum, 16% of those surveyed believe humans will live on the red planet by 2040.
The Mars show home is a dome-like structure mined from the regolith, combined with recycled spacecraft parts, including a double air-locked entrance.
The exhibit contains a clear “slice-through” section where visitors can peek inside at the living quarters, seeing food, botany, exercise equipment, a working area, 3D printer, drone and virtual reality equipment. A graphic also brings to life an underground section, which will be a characteristic of Mars habitats.
Stephen Petranek said: “Very early into our colonisation of the red planet, as soon as the late 2030s, we will use bricks made from the regolith to build our homes, along with recycled spaceship parts providing a protective barrier from the harsh atmosphere, freezing temperatures and radiation of a planet very different to our own.”
Royal Observatory public astronomer Dr Marek Kukula said: “There’s a long history of observing and studying Mars here at the Royal Observatory so it’s exciting to get a glimpse of what life might be like for the first people to visit the Red Planet.
“It’s amazing to live at a time when space agencies and private companies are seriously contemplating sending humans to Mars - science fiction is on the verge of turning into science fact. A young visitor to the show home here in Greenwich might turn out to be the first human to set foot on Mars.”
Billionaire and entrepreneur Elon Musk, who features in Mars, has announced plans to send the first shipment of humans to Mars by 2024. He said: “History is going to bifurcate along two directions: one path is we stay on Earth forever and then there will be some eventual extinction and the alternative is to become a spacefaring civilisation and a multi-planetary species.”
Mars premieres on National Geographic on Sunday, November 13, at 9pm. It tells the story of the first manned mission to the red planet in 2033 and is interwoven with present day documentary explaining the science behind the drama.
The show home will be on site until Wednesday (November 16).
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