A new colony design for Mars can shield humans from radiation

We can settle in Martian craters for protection.
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An illustration of Genesis v.2Courtesy of Burak Celik, Naz Kaplan and Zeynep Ege Odabasi

We have started gazing upon the vast sky ages ago, wondering about the stars, galaxies, and other celestial bodies throughout history.

While our curiosity towards space grew in time, we now have the technology to leave our world and explore other worlds, stars, galaxies, and even observe the early universe with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which can also detect alien life in just 20 hours

As climate change and pollution increase, we might need to look for a new home planet to colonize in the, hopefully not so near, future.

Ever since learning that Mars has water, our focus became exploring more about the Red Planet and developing systems to survive there.

Accordingly, three architects, Burak Celik, Naz Kaplan, and Zeynep Ege Odabasi, designed Genesis v.2, an extraterrestrial design prototype for a housing colony on Mars, with a sustainable approach.

A new colony design for Mars can shield humans from radiation
Courtesy of Burak Celik, Naz Kaplan and Zeynep Ege Odabasi

Within the framework of building a sustainable system that has the ability to respond to the current and upcoming conditions on the Red Planet, the project establishes an adaptable system that might adjust to new colonization scenarios for Mars. Through its circular form sitting on the natural craters of Mars with minimal footprint, and a unit system that is responsive to the growth of the colony as well as the crater size, the design represents a foreseeing solution towards approaching Martian settlements.

The team of architects named their design after NASA’s Genesis mission, which was set to search our cosmic origins. Genesis v.2 aims to spread our origins to another planet with a sustainable approach by using knowledge and the lessons learned from our past on Earth.

Genesis v.2 aims to keep a delicate balance between consumption and production and preserve the natural environment of the planet. 

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A new colony design for Mars can shield humans from radiation
Courtesy of Burak Celik, Naz Kaplan and Zeynep Ege Odabasi

The surface of Mars is not exactly safe for humans. One of the greatest problems in its environment is radiation. Therefore, the project is designed to settle in craters to face this challenge. Doing so also helps the implementation of Genesis v.2’s adjustable structure system.

To elaborate, a ring system occurring around a main production/circulation tower is developed and through adjusting the ring radius, the settlement can be located on craters with varying dimensions. 

Targeting to minimize human footprint and maximize the efficiency in adapting the settlement to different craters, the main structural stability is achieved only by the connection joints around the main ring that attaches to the crater and a screw-like end of the main tower that is nailed to the lowest level of the crater. 

A new colony design for Mars can shield humans from radiation
Courtesy of Burak Celik, Naz Kaplan and Zeynep Ege Odabasi

The outer ring, onto which the units are placed, and the central tower, from which the production and circulation occur, are the backbones of the design's development. Therefore, when relocation is needed due to a colony growth, the structure will be easily detached, the main ring expanded allowing a longer path with more units, and without any other intervention, Genesis v.2 will re-attach to a bigger crater.

The design aims to provide the maximum possible production for the colony with the minimum resources. To achieve this goal, an adaptive/dynamic perspective for the settlement takes control, letting the structure respond to the changes in light, temperature, and other weather conditions through repositioning its parts. 

This ever-lasting search of Genesis v.2 for finding the best location is to serve the production within its system, where various sustainable energy technologies are used as well as biofuel production via algae farming. 

The team told Interesting Engineering in an interview that what they expect from Genesis v.2 is to spark up new discussions regarding spatial design, especially on the architectural design on Mars. 

The architects also say that Genesis v.2 acts as a research-based conceptual design which led them to work further on futuristic architectural projects. They are keen on exploring new design challenges which would broaden their repertoire.