It's official — a company just drew up plans for the first human city on Mars, according to a press release from ABIBOO.
Called Nüwa City, the first large-scale Martian settlement could house 250,000 people and be built along and into the side of a colossal cliff — where the people of Mars would have access to sunlight without risking overexposure to the deadly threat of cosmic radiation.
Most crucially, ABIBOO claims construction could start by 2054, with the first settlers potentially moving in by the year 2100.
ABIBOO's plan for the first Martian city will build into the side of a cliff
Most of the new renderings of Nüwa City depict room interiors (and the operative word seems to be luxury), and whether the 2100 goal is a realistic estimate is up for grabs. But it's clear from the press release that ABIBOO did the work of considering how a city on Mars could function and ultimately prosper. The side of a cliff on the Red Planet will enable settlers to live in personal homes, with other areas committed to agricultural and energy purposes, where people may raise livestock or generate energy from the sun.
The aim is to build a self-sustaining civilization on the Martian surface capable of subsisting without the need to constantly ferry supplies from Earth, but exact plans on how this will happen have yet to be seen. But the going will be tough. Mars' atmospheric pressure is less than 1% of Earth's, the temperature is cold enough to melt tears, which would definitely shed from a person exposed to the lethal radiation that would seriously burn any skin nakedly exposed to cosmic rays.
"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," said Alfredo Muñoz, founder of architecture studio ABIBOO. "[W]e have to face challenges that are very specific to the conditions of Mars, one of them gravity, which is only one-third of the gravity on Earth."
However, lucky for us, there's CO2 and water in the surface of Mars.
Future city on Mars should probably not rely on Earth
"Water is one of the great advantages that Mars offers, it helps to be able to get the proper materials for the construction," said Muñoz. "Basically, with the water and the CO2, we can generate carbon and with the carbon, we can generate steel." Critically, the ABIBOO plans to use only Mars-sourced materials to build the first city on the planet.
The new Mars city project is involved in a larger scientific project organized by The Mars Society — with developmental work from the SONet network, which is an international team of scientists and academics. "The learnings that we are getting by developing a fully sustainable city on Mars brings us so much know-how ideas and insights, about things that we could do differently on Earth," explained Muñoz.
A lot of people are very passionate about building a substantial human presence on Mars. From Carl Sagan to Robert Zubrin, and from Mars enthusiasts to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk — interest is far from waning. While some estimates from Musk appear to be a pinch unrealistic, the consensus is growing that any future city on Mars will ultimately need to be self-sufficient — otherwise, the future people of the Red Planet will never achieve independence from Earth.
Dislcaimer: The company, ABIBOO has clarified with IE that while it aims to begin efforts to start construction of Nüwa City by 2054, this is only an estimation, and doesn't necessarily constitute a factual deadline for building a new city on Mars that year. The text has been updated to reflect this.