The first colony of Mars could resemble a Smurf village - Geeko

Getting enough material to Mars, more than 55 million kilometers from Earth, is a real challenge! This is why NASA is looking to develop simple housing solutions that are easily transportable and require little equipment.

Is the future of Mars in the fungus?

NASA will also have to take into account the meteorological and atmospheric conditions of the red planet to develop resistant dwellings. And the solution… could come from nature and more particularly from mushrooms.

NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program focuses on the mycoarchitecture process, which is the possibility of using mushrooms for construction. There is obviously no question here of having mushroom houses, as in the world of the Smurfs , but rather of using the mycelium of fungi, the network of filaments underground, to "grow" building materials.

The first colony of Mars could resemble a Smurf village - Geeko

This is what mycelium bricks look like - Credit: NASA

A great insulator

In practice, it is possible to grow a compact and thick amount of mycelium around a structure or in a certain shape, like bricks, thanks to its properties. For this, the mycelium is covered with a protective layer made of ice which allows both to protect the fungus from the sun's rays and to water it thanks to the melting of the ice. Ultimately, a third layer composed of cyanobacteria will naturally produce oxygen for residents of homes.

Once the biological material has grown enough in the desired shape, it will be "cooked to kill life forms, ensuring structural integrity and ensuring that no life contaminates Mars and any microbial life already in it" .

According to the researchers, this material is an excellent insulator, fire retardant and can even regenerate if necessary.

If the concept of mushroom house was developed as part of the conquest of Mars, it could also be that mycoarchitecture inspires new types of construction on Earth.


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