Mars, 2018



Mars, Solar System


Eleven Magazine


Entry – International Design Competition



Design Team

Sergio Bianchi with Simone Fracasso , Alejandro Jorge Velazco Ramirez

Robert Silverberg in a novel called “Sundance” in 1973 warned us about the risk of perpetuating a new genocide in the future. Exploration implies risks, but on a planetary scale risks should be pondered on an extremely high level.

Are we sure that life exists only in the organic form we know? Don’t You, fellow human, think that your landing on a planet may harm different, unknown life forms? The risks is too high. We are part of this Universe, but we know too little about it to dare to set foot on a “virgin” planet and spoil it. We already did it on our mother Earth.
At the same time, space exploration is essential to life on Earth and it is probably right for our species to protect life as we know it through a process of the expansion of knowledge. Our aim will be the exploration of Mars, not its colonization. So how do we approach the idea of a habitat for Mars? Sure not as a duplication of the environment on Earth.

There won’t be any terraforming process.

The main reference of our proposal is the Historical Martian stereotype; a model set more than a century ago by H.G.Wells. Those sleek flying saucers with their hanging biological tentacles nestled our deep unconscious. The twin spaceships (called Gemini Argo Naves), acting as backup one for the other to increase the mission’s safety, are a couple of flying saucers orbiting 300Km above the Martian surface. Four explorative units detach from mother ships to carry on the surface of the red planet astronauts (just when needed!) and robotic devices controlled from space. From this close and yet safe position any remote operated mission can be done without the 24 minutes of delay usually experienced in Earth-Controlled missions. Each spacecraft is inhabited by 26 people for a total of 52 members, as in the Argonauts myth.
The proposal is a combination of a sci-fi structure with a biological habitat. The main steel structure is quite rigid and symmetrical (the disc form is actually very apt to maximize stability along the longitudinal axis), while the interior is an inflatable membrane colonized by cyanobacteria whose double purpose is to produce oxygen and act as a shield against space radiations.

Techincal report