By: April Carson
A cutting-edge architecture firm has introduced bold proposals for Nüwa, a sustainable city on Mars that may accommodate up to 250,000 people in mostly subterranean cave networks.
Nüwa, referring to the Chinese mythology goddess who melted five stones to provide durable societal pillars, would be located within a sheer rock face and protected from negative cosmic and solar radiation by its inhabitants.
The city would have all the amenities of a modern metropolis, including residential units, parks, restaurants, and retail space. But its most unique feature would be a "bioreactor" that would use algae to produce oxygen and food.
A trip to Mars will set you back $300,000, according to ABIBOO, the design firm behind the concept. You'll get a one-way ticket to Nüwa, a home of 25 to 35 square meters with full access to amenities, life support services and food, as well as "a binding work contract requiring you to devote between 60% and 80% of your working hours each week to tasks assigned by the city."
What would it take for humans to live on Mars in a safe manner? ABIBOO has addressed the most important need by considering how to protect colonists from radiation. (We'll require some sort of protective deus ex machina for people to get all the way to Mars without getting irradiated, but that's for another organization to solve.)
Residents will also need to be able to produce food crops in order to survive—it's simply too difficult and dangerous to expect them to travel all of the way from Earth with everything they'll need.
To address both issues, ABIBOO collaborated with SONet—an international group of scientists led by astrophysicist Guillem Anglada, who discovered the exoplanet Proxima-B—and cut Nüwa out of a Martian cliff called Tempe Mensa. The cliff is part of Mars' Tharsis region. By selecting this site, the team aims to shield people from radiation while also exposing them to direct light in order to produce food.
People will live in cliffside terraces and use the more exposed surface only when necessary. They'll go by train and bus outside the cliff, as well as via large elevator systems within it. More from ABIBOO:
Large pavilions have been built at the bottom of the cliff for social interaction in the Valley. These pavilions, which feature thin translucent skins to offer views of Mars' terrain, have been constructed with this in mind. Large overhanging canopies protect these domes from harmful radiation from space. The earth excavated from the cliff is piled on top of these roofs, shielding people from radiation. This method also guarantees recycling at a large scale. Specific buildings in the Valley are designed to accommodate hospitals, schools and universities, sports and cultural activities, shopping areas, and train stations that communicate with the space shuttle.
According to ABIBOO, the city will only need resources from Earth for a short time before it becomes self-sustaining. It's worth thinking about the margin for error when planning certain aspects of this design, especially considering that there are plans for some 300,000 people to live there. What if 250,000 people reside in the city but 50% of them become ill as a result of an epidemic carried from Earth? There is a point at which everyone must contribute to ensure that all residents have access to food, for example.
Nüwa's plans include both agricultural crops and livestock. Residents may socialize in shared areas that are separate from the terraced homes. The design is reminiscent to individuals who live in mountainous regions, where terraces and elevation are standard features. People, on the other hand, typically want to live in a flatter area while converting the rugged terrain into terraces for agriculture. (Consider the difficulties of moving from one home to another when the home is perched on a cliff.)
The city's power will come from a central solar farm, which is a common energy source in many science fiction stories set on Mars. Solar panels are an efficient way to collect energy on the planet's surface, and a central farm would be able to provide power to the entire city. Nüwa will also have a water treatment plant and a recycling center.
Despite false reports of construction beginning in 2054, an ABIBOO spokesperson told Popular Mechanics that there isn't yet an exact year to start building Nüwa, despite Elon Musk's claims that he intends to establish a city on Mars by 2050.
Underground caverns are the most popular settlement options for Mars inhabitants. It's intriguing to put people on the side of a cliff, but it's an excellent method to combine the advantages of underground shelter without any of the drawbacks.
The X-factor of "sustainability" is still a large question mark, as with Musk's comments on a Mars colony. Everything about Nüwa appears and sounds excellent, but the X-factor of "sustainability" remains to be seen. ABIBOO points out:
“This Martian city is built with materials obtained on Mars and processed carbon and other minerals. All of the components required for its construction are brought to Mars by mining carbon and other minerals.”
Every 26 months, ABIBOO residents will be able to use a shuttle to and from Earth with launch windows lasting between 1 and 3 months.
However, if people needed medicine or other supplies from Earth right away, the wait would be at the very least a few months. This will be the longest time that humans have been apart since ancient days of maritime travel millennia ago.
ABIBOO's city is designed to be as self-sufficient as possible, but the company still plans to maintain communication with Earth. "We are not planning to cut ties with Earth," says ABIBOO founder and CEO, Javier Fernandez. "We want to keep them because they are important for our psychological well-being."
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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