Clouds Architecture Office and SEArch conceived an inflatable structure that incorporates in situ resources and uses ice as radiation shielding and as a structural component.
Clouds AO and SEArch worked with NASA Langley Research Center and a team of experts to develop a concept design and feasibility study for Mars Ice Home, a deployable Mars habitat concept based on an inflatable structure that incorporates in situ resource utilization derived water ice as radiation shielding and as a structural component.
It also provides a large, flexible, and cost effective workspace that can be used for many of the key activities that will be critical for the long term success of a human outpost on Mars. Long term stays on the Martian surface require habitats that reduce launch mass and cost while providing an effective working environment with a high level of shielding from galactic cosmic rays for mission crew members.
Translucent ice is the key design element: it allows natural light to permeate the habitat interior keeping occupants connected to diurnal cycles which affect human bio-rhythms; transparent windows allow views out to the surrounding landscape, which is important for mental well-being and crew functionality; ice is an effective radiation shield, the cross section is tapered to provide most ice above since this is the direction with strongest incoming radiation.