Our design approach is a down-to-Mars vision of vernacular architecture on Planet Mars. Just like our vernacular architecture on Earth, the future on Mars is with MUD!

Down-to-Mars is a multipurpose habitat on Mars designed to withstand Mars’ extreme cold, high radiation levels, lack of oxygen and frequent dust storms.


Our objective is to build the largest safe and spacious volume with the least weight of materials transported from Earth to Mars.

After learning that under Martian gravity, the strength of a Martian “block” is equal to the strength of a concrete block on Earth.

The exterior shell, which mainly acts as a radiation shield, is composed of Martian regolith, a clay mineral that occurs naturally and abundantly on Mars’ surface.

By relying on in-situ resources, transported materials from Earth to Mars can be restricted to life support systems and vehicles allowing the design to be very cost-efficient and easily expandable and restorable.

Volumetric Development

Wind activity on Mars is a major agent of evolution of its landscape. By having an aerodynamic shape, the habitat responds to environmental issues by decreasing the possibility of turbulence and dust-storm initiation around it.

The shell is sloped enough to allow Martians to climb up its exterior and wind to traverse it smoothly.

Woodless Construction Technique

Technique of construction is based on catenary contours. It does not require centering or support. The catenary contours eliminate tensile stressed and bending moments and work solely to endure compression.

MOLDO: the Molding Rover

MOLDO is programmed to get down-to-Mars and play with its mud to mold and place the designed blocks, each at accurate coordinates. After habitat construction, MOLDO will be used by Martians to move objects, for transportation and for discovery of terrains.

Module and Wind Channels

The connection between the modules is based on the interlocked joint and on the “friction ridges” on the surface. Since no mortar will be used, these modules are interlocked and crushed together to produce, from the “ridges” on them, a “mortar-like” friction layer that keeps them in place.

On the surface, wind channels are created by the shape of the blocks. These channels are oriented to channel away two major prevailing winds. They are necessary to decrease erosion effect of the multi-directional wind shear hitting the surface.

Plan Organization and Function Distribution

The plan shows a large spacious living space, a necessity for the psychological health of the Martians.

Yet, being in a confined space, no matter how spacious it is, will eventually affect a person psychologically. Working with plants can increase the psychological well-being of individuals.

Hence, the main circulation within the plan becomes through the greenhouse. The intersection of the greenhouse with the habitable spaces creates a green strip within the “cave” where people not only harvest crops but also interact, practice activities and spend time either working or relaxing in this spacious garden.