You can get a taste of what it would be like to live on Mars this November at the Royal Observatory Greenwich in London, which is playing host to the first ever ‘Mars show home’ – a replica of a purpose-built habitat designed for astronauts visiting the Red Planet to live in, as seen in National Geographic’s new docu-drama, MARS.
The habitat is on display to coincide with the premiere of the 6-part series chronicling the first crewed mission to the Red Planet in the year 2033, is produced by Oscar-winning director Ron Howard (director of Apollo 13) and Brian Grazer, and features commentary from the likes of SpaceX’s Elon Musk and Hayden Planetarium’s Neil deGrasse Tyson, while Trevor McDonald interviews the six brave astronauts who are depicted in the series as the first humans to step foot on Martian soil.
Mars’ thin atmosphere, lack of oxygen and freezing temperatures, accompanied by a dose of cosmic radiation and the occasional dust storm, means the Red Planet is not an easy world to live on, and any future astronauts that go to live on Mars will need to be well protected. The dome-shaped habitat has been designed by astronomers at the Royal Observatory Greenwich and Stephen Petranek, who acted as a consultant on MARS and is author of How We’ll Live on Mars. The dome would be mined from the Martian soil, which we call regolith, and would contain many recycled parts from spacecraft that brought the astronauts to Mars.
Constructed by Cardiff-based company Wild Creations, the Martian show home will be open to visitors from 10am to 5pm between Thursday 10 November to Wednesday 16 November. Visitors to the habitat will be able to view inside the habitat through a transparent side section, where you can catch a glimpse of where astronauts would work and sleep, the kind of scientific equipment they would use, its double-airlocks and tunnels that would link to other similar environments. Meanwhile, around the habitat will be an exhibition providing some background about Mars and how we plan to colonise it.
National Geographic’s MARS, which begins on 13 November at 9pm, describes the exhilaration of a crewed mission to the Red Planet, the challenges they will face and the technology that they will need to make it happen.