Nuwa Cliff and Valley Cover
ABIBOO Studio (Sebastián Rodríguez) and SONet
- A proposal for a city on planet Mars by a Catalan-led team was presented on Saturday, 17 October 2020, in the final of the Mars Society competition.
- The team is led by researchers from the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC) at the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE, CSIC), the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC), the School of Industrial, Aerospace and Audiovisual Engineering of Terrassa (ESEIAAT- UPC) and the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona (ICCUB), together with the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM, CSIC).
- Using the available scientific knowledge about the environment on Mars, the proposal touches on all aspects of human life: from settling, architecture and life support to arts, economics and political systems.
- The project team will now look for industry, academic and private partners to make further steps in making the martian city a feasible option for future human settling on the Red Planet.
Welcome to Nüwa, capital city on Mars. Human settlers would live here and in four other vertical cities on the cliffs of the Red Planet, which provide protection from radiation, but also exposure to sunlight. The buildings inside the cliffs would be mix-use, able to hold 200,000 to 250,000 people, and comprising areas for living and working, lush gardens in the so-called Green-Domes, “public squares” at the bottom of the cliff, underground sports arenas and music halls, as well as areas to lodge art displays. Settlers would eat a diet based 50% on agriculture, 20% microalgae, and 30% coming from animal meat, insects, mushrooms and cellular meat.
The work per person should be eight times higher than for the average human on Earth, but this can be sorted by imposing automation, standardisation and the use of Artificial Intelligence methods at the design level. Water would be mainly extracted from clays and the oxygen mainly produced by crops and microalgae. After death, the biomass of animals, humans and plants would be incorporated back into the system, but loved ones would be able to keep a small, compressed sample. Mars would eventually become a democracy, with its own constitution and body of law. Each citizen would be a shareholder of Mars’ cities. Society would evolve to a model based on community and sustainability.
This is how a city on Mars would look like and function according to a team of international professionals led by catalan researchers. Using knowledge about the geology, geography and atmosphere of the Red Planet, as well as complex human sociological and psychological research, they have imagined a sustainable evidence-based and technologically viable model for life on Mars.
Their proposal was presented in the Mars City State Design competition of the Mars Society, the world’s largest and most influential space advocacy organisation dedicated to the human exploration and settlement of the planet Mars. The team presented the project on Saturday, 17 October 2020, during the Mars Society Convention after being selected among the 10 finalists from over 175 submitted proposals. Even though they did not win the award, the team stands convinced that the sustainable and human centered approach to the exploration of space is the right way to go. Therefore, they will continue to pursue industry and academic partnerships to bring to life some of the core concepts for humanity’s next habitat on Mars.
This design proposal was initiated and promoted by SONet (the Sustainable Off-world Network), which is a community of mainly European professionals interested in multidisciplinary approaches to sustainable exploration of space. The project is led by researchers from the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC — Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya) at the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE, CSIC), the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), the School of Industrial, Aerospace and Audiovisual Engineering of Terrassa (ESEIAAT - UPC), and its core architectural & urban planning has been led by the ABIBOO studio. It also has important contributions from members of the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM, CSIC) and the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona (ICCUB). Participants from other countries include researchers and professionals from the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, USA and Argentina.
“The challenge for the team was to design a settlement with all the welfare of a modern city that was also capable of obtaining all resources locally, and rapidly gaining its financial and logistic independence from Earth”, declared Guillem Anglada-Escudé, Ramón y Cajal researcher of ICE and coordinator of the team. The project touches on all aspects of human life: from the materials used to build settlements and the mechanisms for ensuring oxygen and other life support systems to money, art, childcare, education, political system, workload, death and even inheritance on Mars.
“From a real world architect point of view, designing a functional urban development, while working with the constraints of an alien world was both a mind-boggling and an extremely enriching experience”, declared Alfredo Muñoz, cofounder of ABIBOO studio and leader of the urban and architectural development team. “We cannot wait to keep evolving this first design, and also identify radical new solutions that shall work on Earth as well”.
“The project team will now look for industry, academic and private partners to make further steps in making the martian city a feasible option for future human settling on the Red Planet. “In such a big endeavour, cooperation between experts in many different areas is needed,” explained Miquel Sureda, lecturer of aeronautical engineering at ESEIAAT- UPC. “The success of Nüwa’s project in the Mars Society competition can help SONet gain visibility and attract members and resources.”
"The world has changed radically since we started in March, and will continue to change at forced rates”, concludes Anglada-Escudé. “Meanwhile —he adds— the problems of Earth's sustainability have not disappeared. Although we won't be coming to Mars next year or in twenty years, if after all it serves to inspire Catalan or all-over-the-world professionals and young people working together for a more sustainable world, we have already won."
The next immediate step is seek funding to perform a new design iteration and begin conversations to develop an Earth demonstrator, which should also be used to develop sustainability technologies and as an inspirational element to promote sciences among young and not so young people.
Project Coordination, Economic model & High-level concepts: Guillem Anglada-Escudé, Ph.D.; RyC fellow in Astrophysics; Institute for Space Science/ CSIC & Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (EU)
Co-coordination. Space, Earth-Mars transportation & Socio-economics: Miquel Sureda, Ph.D.; Space Science and Technology Research Group, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya & Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (EU)
Life Support, Biosystems & Human factors: Gisela Detrell, Ph.D; Institute for Space Systems, Universität Stuttgart (EU)
Design. Architecture & Urbanism: Design Strategy & Coordination: ABIBOO Studio (USA) Preliminary Analysis & Urban Configuration: Alfredo Muñoz (USA); Owen Hughes Pearce (UK)
Detailed Architecture & Urban Design: Alfredo Muñoz (USA); Gonzalo Rojas (Argentina); Engeland Apostol (UK); Sebastián Rodríguez (Argentina); Verónica Florido (UK)
Identity & Graphic Design: Verónica Florido (UK); Engeland Apostol (UK)
Video Direction & CGI: Sebastián Rodríguez (Argentina); Gonzalo Rojas (Argentina)
Mars Materials & Location: Ignasi Casanova, Ph.D.; Prof. Civil and Environmental Engineering; Institute of Energy Technologies (INTE), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (EU)
Manufacturing, Advanced Biosystems & Materials: David Cullen; Prof. of Astrobiology and Space Biotechnology; Space Group, University of Cranfield (UK)
Energy & Sustainability: Miquel Banchs i Piqué; School of Civil Engineering & Surveying, University of Portsmouth (UK)
Mining & Excavation systems: Philipp Hartlieb; Prof. in Excavation Engineering, Montan Universitaet Leoben (EU)
Social Services & Life Support Systems: Laia Ribas, Ph.D.; RyC fellow in Biology, Institut de Ciències del Mar/CSIC, (EU)
Mars Climate modeling & Environment: David de la Torre; Dept. of Physics, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (EU)
Jordi Miralda Escudé (ICREA Prof. in Astrophysics - Ground Transport, UB, EU); Rafael Harillo Gomez-Pastrana (Lawyer, - Political Organization & Space law, EU); Lluis Soler (Ph.D. in Chemistry - Chemical processes, UPC, EU); Paula Betriu (Topographical analysis, - UPC, EU); Uygar Atalay (Location, temperature & Radiation analysis, UPC, EU); Pau Cardona (Earth-Mars Transportation, UPC, EU); Oscar Macia (Earth-Mars Transportation, UPC, EU); Eric Fimbinger (Resource Extraction & Conveyance, Montanuniversität Leoben, EU); Stephanie Hensley (Art Strategy in Mars, USA); Carlos Sierra (Electronic Engineering, ICE/CSIC, EU); Elena Montero (Psychologist, EU); Robert Myhill (Mars science – U. Bristol, UK); Rory Beard (Artificial Intelligence, UK)
CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas); ABIBOO Studio; UPC (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya); Cranfield University; University of Stuttgart; IEEC (Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya); Montan University Leoben; Institut de Ciencies del Mar; University of Portsmouth.
The Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC — Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya) promotes and coordinates space research and technology development in Catalonia for the benefit of society. IEEC fosters collaborations both locally and worldwide and is an efficient agent of knowledge, innovation and technology transfer. As a result of over 20 years of high-quality research, done in collaboration with major international organisations, IEEC ranks among the best international research centers, focusing on areas such as: astrophysics, cosmology, planetary science, and Earth Observation. IEEC’s engineering division develops instrumentation for ground- and space-based projects, and has extensive experience in working with private or public organisations from the aerospace and other innovation sectors.
IEEC is a private non-profit foundation, governed by a Board of Trustees composed of Generalitat de Catalunya and four other institutions that each have a research unit, which together constitute the core of IEEC R&D activity: the University of Barcelona (UB) with the research unit ICCUB — Institute of Cosmos Sciences; the Autonomous University of Barcelona
(UAB) with the research unit CERES — Center of Space Studies and Research; the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) with the research unit CTE — Research Group in Space Sciences and Technologies; the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) with the research unit ICE — Institute of Space Sciences. IEEC is integrated in the CERCA network (Centres de Recerca de Catalunya).
IEEC Communication Office Barcelona, Spain
Ana Montaner Pizà
Institute of Space Sciences (ICE - CSIC) Barcelona, Spain
Technical University of Catalonia (UPC) Barcelona, Spain
Miquel Sureda Anfres