Ice is the perfect way to protect humans from harmful radiation and extreme temperatures.
The anticipation for the human mission to Mars is building rapidly but there are many problems that scientists are facing before man can fully set foot on the Red Planet.
One of the problems is suitable housing that can safely protect those staying long-term on the alien planet. Vast radiation and extreme temperature pose difficulties for the initial astronauts who will take the voyage to Mars.
However, scientists working at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, may have come up with a solution – igloos.
The idea came from using the planet’s biggest resource which is ice due to the plummeting temperatures the planet experiences at night. Temperatures are thought to go right down to 100 degrees F, or minus 73 Celsius causing vast freezing and ice formations.
Using this idea, designers have come up with a concept known as the “Mars Ice Home” and won’t just stand as a simple home for human habitation. Its functionality extends to a lightweight solution, adequate protection from cosmic rays, with the water also being able to be converted to rocket fuel for the Mars Ascent Vehicle, as well as being easily prepared in advance for new space crews.
“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.
The igloos would be made up of an inflatable material similar to that of an inner tube which astronauts would live inside of while the outer layer would be layered with ice – an effective way of shielding humans from harmful radiation and uninhabitable temperatures.
“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,” Ice Home principal investigator Kevin Kempton. “When we go to Mars, we will stay there for a long time. We will need a place to service the robotic equipment that will be out there working for us in very difficult environments.”