NASA has been looking to the wisdom of the crowds to tackle some of its most interesting challenges. Read this article, then share with your kids. Interesting questions to discuss: why did NASA choose to focus on native Martian materials? How could we know what materials are available on Mars if no person has set foot on the planet?
Will NASA’s first Martian colony be built from ice?
The agency has awarded the first place prize in its 3-D Printed Mars Habitat Contest to the visually stunning Mars Ice House, a sleek structure that aims to harness the Red Planet’s liquid water and low temperatures to build a “multi-layered pressurized radiation shell of ice.”
The structure is essentially a series of nested ice shells. A novel “front yard” pocket between the structure’s outer shell and interior domes will allow Mars astronauts to experience a “truly unique protected neutral zone that is not entirely interior or exterior.” Just inside the front yard, a lush hydroponic garden will provide both food and oxygen to the structure’s residents.