As the only currently able species, human beings have a unique moral obligation to proliferate Earth’s genetic heritage. Earths biosphere has gone through 5 mass extinction events killing off 99% of all species that have lived on earth. Whether due to human folly or cosmic/terrestrial disaster eventual inhospitality is inevitable not just for earth but the solar system. Mars is not the solution. Mars is a training ground, a stepping stone for Earth’s inhabitants to learn how to become a multi-planet and multi-stellar biota.
Conceptually, this project is based on a coral polyp; an organism that travels to a location, builds an enclosure enshrouding itself, while absorbing nutrients from its environment and establishing the groundwork to future generations. This colony will utilize technological and biological processes with a number of species, to create a symbiotic relationship supporting the collective. This proposal consists of multiple layers, printed around the landed-core of the transport vehicle whose interior will provide a temporary habitat just after landing.
The enclosure will be a double-walled envelope. Concrete, derived from the Martian regolith with Sulphur as the binder, will form the primary printed structure, followed by a large water cavity that will provide a habitat for aquatic life. This assembly functions as the protective skin as well as the digestive and respiratory system of the structure. It will provide radiation shielding, interior climate stabilization, and a biological mechanism to process and provide consumables for the colony. In addition, it will harvest waste heat from the colony with a thermoelectric material coating on the exterior.
The interior will be divided into plates for many programs including; aeroponic farming, recreation, research, tourism, and industrial manufacturing. The core of the structure, the expended lander, will provide vertical circulation as well as serve as the metabolic system. It will filter Martian water with molecular sieves designed for the collection of various elements through dialysis as well as house the equipment for energy-harvesting and environmental systems.
The two primary energy-harvesting systems will be solar-thermal and geothermal; combined, these two systems will provide energy year-round, independent from weather cycles. An inflatable reflector will be unrolled around the structure to track and focus solar radiation onto a secondary mirror, which will then concentrate light to melt tanks of salt to generate electricity day and night. It will also focus light onto fibre optic receivers that will transmit light into the interior, providing light for plants and animals during the day reducing the requirement for electric lighting in a healthy manner.
We have the tendency on Earth to take redundancy and environmental stability for granted. This colony will be orders of magnitude less complicated than Earth and will still challenge our understanding of technology, biology, and ecology, as well as serve to educate and train the inhabitants of the importance of a healthy ecology, how it is properly balanced, sustained, and transplanted to thrive on other worlds.