Posted 08/25/04 - Updated 10/05/2004

" To Arrive, Survive, &Thrive" [™]
Researchingtechnologies needed forpermanent habitation

Utilizing concepts and designs from the past several decades, the Mars Homestead Project seeks to develop a unified plan for building the first habitat on Mars utilizing local materials. The ultimate goal of the project is to build a growing, permanent settlement beyond the Earth, thus allowing civilization to spread beyond the limits of our small planet.

Mission Statement: To design and build the first permanent settlement on Mars.

The initial goal for the Mars Homestead Project is to identify the core technologies needed for an economical, growing Mars Base built primarily with local materials. Later phases will involve increasing levels of prototyping, either selecting existing equipment which could be used on Mars, or building prototypes of new equipment leading up to an entire simulated Mars Base.

The initial study is being conducted by a small Program Team, whose members have professional or academic experience in applicable engineering areas. Areas of expertise include: Materials, Structural, Mechanical, Architectural, Agricultural, Nutrition, Process/PSSS, Electrical, I&C, Data/Telecom, EHS, IE, Mars Geology/Topography, Space Transportation, Spacesuits, Systems Integration, and others.

There is also need for occasional advisors in specific areas, and a general "brainstorming" discussion group is open for anybody interested in the project, regardless of technical experience.

While we want to entertain all ideas and don't want to be locked up into using specific materials too early, some of the materials we will probably consider are: locally produced fiberglass - wound on site; metals; masonry - either for un-pressurized shelter or covered with regolith to hold the pressure, polyethylene & other polymers made from ethylene from the CO2 atmosphere; and any plant products - especially if a byproduct of food growth.

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Welcome Moon Society Members!
[from Bruce Mackenzie, The Mars Society, and Peter Kokh, The Moon Society]

08/21/04 - The Mars Homestead group has just started to explore how we would get beyond an outpost by building modular settlements, with all the technologies that may involve. Other than the color of the regolith and the sky, and the added benefit of atmosphere mining on Mars, just about everything else will apply to the Moon as well.

Project cofounder Bruce Mackenzie welcomes our official cosponsorship and welcomes any Moon Society members who want to join in. The results of this virtual simulation will enrich us as well. This collaboration has the blessing of Mars Society founder and President, Robert Zubrin, as well.

Most of the Challenges facing the Mars Homestead Project
will apply
equally to design & construction of homesteads on the Moon:

  • Habitat space must be pressurized with breathable air
  • Building materials processed from local regolith: metal alloys; glass, fiberglass, glass-glass composites, ceramics, fiberglass reinforced concrete
  • Shielding habitat space with regolith for full protection against the cosmic elements as well as an aide to thermal management
  • Means of providing solar and scenic access to shielded habitat spaces
  • Air, water, and human waste recycling systems
  • Integration of food production into mini-biosphere maintenance
  • Furnishings and clothing need to be provided locally
  • Transportation networks
  • Diversifying the frontier economy to meet ever more domestic needs, to cut down on imports
  • and so on - Read this Moon Society Flyer (pdf) prepared for Mars Convention 2004

Some things will apply specifically
only to homesteads on Mars, or only to homesteads on the Moon:

  • On Mars, the thin atmosphere of carbon dioxide and nitrogen is a source of chemical feedstocks for both agriculture and manufacturing. On the Moon, such resources are minimal, although carbon and nitrogen oxides may be found immixed with water ice in polar cold traps, as the suspected source of these volatiles, impacting comets, contains ample amounts of these elements
  • On the Moon, the month long dayspan-nightspan cycle will affect all operations on the surface and, because of cycling energy availability, within habitat and industrial spaces as well.

Our Guiding Belief

Settlements can be built for little more than the cost of round trip exploration missions, and provide for long term science missions (10+ years) significantly reducing launch costs.

Divide & Conquer, Phase by Phase

Brainstorming Internet Group launched to discuss key needed technologies: structural materials, habitat layout, food, clothing, etc.

Program Study Team to develop a Mars Homestead Reference Design (HRD) similar in structure to the NASA DRM. One outcome of this effort will be identifying areas for further research

Individual Prototyping Projects;:follow-on equipment research projects will be based on that study. Help select and/or design equipment and furnishings suitable

Full Scale Prototype Research Base: Eventually, a complete analog research facility to provide for integrated research and public outreach.


Moon Society Members' can Contribute

How we would "Interface" with the existing MarsHabitat Team
There is no Mars Habitat Project "membership" to Join.But if your Moon Society membership has lapsed, please renew! - Do check off that you are a renewing or returning member.

Join the general discussion group.

Members with special expertise should respond to Peter Kokh,

  • list your expertise and how you think it may be relevant
  • Specify the aspects of the project that they would want to work on.
  • Peter Kokh will be the "filter" for Moon Society member contributions,
    (how the Mars Habitat Project core team wants it to work)
    and will report periodically to the Mars Habitat core committee.


Just some of the things our "Moon Team" can work on

Development of Modular Biospherics - by incorporating primary waste treatment in every toilet and sink equipped module, the biosphere would expand in modular fashion along with the pressurized habitat ecosphere that contains it.

Examination of the needed technologies identified by the group for potential profitable terrestrial applications; doing preliminary business plan sketches for terrestrial enterprises that would pre-develop such technologies for profit from terrestrial applications here and now - the "spin-up" plan, that unlike "spin-off" relies on consumer purchase funding rather than NASA requested crash programs paid for out of taxes.

Developing the concept of modular "container" factories sized to fit common cargo holds and payload bays, for integration in plug-in-and-operate industrial park complexes not unlike marinas

And in other areas - send your ideas for Moon Society contribution to this project to Peter Kokh.


The Moon Society urges interested members to participate.

Our participation will
  • increase the talent pool working on this project,
  • uaranteeing a more mature product, and
  • one very relevant to our own needs.


To Whet your Appetite!

Check out Jim Lowe's Index to the Martian Pattern Language Dialect.

Jim's How to Build Your Own Space Habitat is a course in basement workshop space station modeling.



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