NEW HOME is a habitat for the first manned missions to Mars, comprising of six astronauts. Due to the transportation logistics, the astronauts will be required to live in the habitat for 1.5 years before a journey home is feasible. However, the habitat itself will be permanent and will host numerous missions as they come and go. Due to its low radiation, acceptable temperatures and presence of water just under the surface, we have chosen Chryse Planitia plain as the ideal location.
The nature and the duration of the mission will put strong mental pressure on the crew in the form of isolation, confinement and a constant threat for life that result in the feelings of loneliness, homesickness or boredom. We have found that the phenomenon of a “home” could form a direct psychological, and subsequently, an architectural response to these challenges. That is why our design is largely centered around the concept of an ideal home and even gives the project its name – NEW HOME.
On Earth, there is a strong division between the built and the natural, the architecture and the landscaping, both offering many different experiences. However, the Martian environment doesn’t allow for such range of experiences as on Earth. For this reason, within our design, we need to bring our own context that will provide for all the experiences that mankind has evolved to enjoy.
By extension, the traditional division of space into the interior and exterior is no longer relevant, there is only different spatial qualities of privacy or interaction, rationality or spirituality, and construction or nature, all in a single piece of architecture.
The habitat comprises of three main structures – a prefabricated core, two deployable ETFE membranes and three balconies, deployable from the core. The inner spaces are divided according to zones based on the different privacy and social interaction levels. Furthermore, the technical requirements divide the spaces in accordance with different pressure and temperature zones. Horizontally, it is divided into the prefabricated core and a habitat garden and bamboo forest under the two layers of dyneema-reinforced ETFE membranes. Vertically, it is divided into work, leisure, dwellings and an observatory.
After cleansing the Martian soil of perchlorates, it will be used to grow bamboo that will play a large role for self-sufficiency of the habitat. It is a very versatile, fast-growing and easy plant, ideal for these conditions. Through photosynthesis, all the bamboo supports the oxygen extraction systems and help provide oxygen. It can be harvested and used as a material for any additional construction or furniture. Besides many other functions, it is also edible and can be utilized in the kitchen in various ways.
Environmental Control and Life Support System provides air, water, energy etc. required for func-tioning and comfortable habitat. Electricity is generated through a radioisotope power system. Water will be initially extracted from soil, and the amount will be maintained by constant supply to cover for the losses from nonrecyclable water.