Imagine Living on Mars In One of These Structures

You could call an acropolis, pyramid or beehive home

Photo: DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY/Science Photo Library/Corbis

Thousands of Earthlings have applied to take a one-way trip to the Red Planet, but what will life for the first Martian pioneers actually be like? NASA and Makerbot recently challenged designers, architects and imaginative members of the public to submit their visions of what home life would look like on Mars, CNET reports.

There were a couple simple rules: the envisioned Martian houses had to be built with materials that can either be imported from Earth or found on Mars, and the entries needed to be 3D printed. Besides that, the applicants were allowed to let their creativity guide their design.  

More than 200 people submitted entries to the Mars Base Challenge, and the top three entries were recently selected. First place went to "The Queen B," a hive-like living space created by Noah Hornberger, a professional 3D printing designer. The Queen B's functional design protects against cosmic radiation and Martian storms. As a bonus, Hornberger argues, its attractive aesthetics are "good for promoting the mission and finding willing candidates." 

A section of the Queen Bee living space. Photo: Noah Hornberger, Thingverse

Second place went to a Thingverse user called Valcrow who build a Martian pyramid. As Valcrow writes, the pyramid's "stable triangular geometry has proven itself through the ages in ancient buildings around the world." The pyramid includes an aquaponics pond and the communal rooms will feature "ample natural martian light to help with the crews extended isolation and confinement." 

The Mars Pyramid earned second place. Photo: Valcrow, Thingverse

Finally, third place went to Chris Starr, a design engineer who modeled his Martian habitat on ancient Greek acropolises. In designing the Mars Acropolis, Starr was going for "a creative blend of futuristic, yet modern stylization." It contains three large greenhouses that produce food as well as oxygen, and he imagines it would serve as a research base in addition to a living space. 

The Mars Acropolis took third prize in the design contest. Photo: Chris Starr, Thingverse

Get the latest stories in your inbox every weekday.