08 : Ironamic age ( Design Proposal for a Martian Habitat ) Marsception.

Ironamic age is inspired from the term, “ iron age”. One of the most important archaeological eras in the history of our planet earth. Similar on those lines, Ironamic age will mark a new era in the history of forthcoming Martian civilization. As the name suggests ( Iron + ceramic), the project revolves around the core idea of a resource-driven development, through state of the art technologies. With clay and Iron being present abundantly on the surface of Mars and water being present in the form of an ice beneath the surface, these materials could potentially be amalgamated to create a material system which can be 3d printed and magnets could be used along with it to substantiate the extrusion process.

Considering the harsh environmental inputs of the planet, the project also looks into more of a sustainable planning principle, with the spaces being configured based on the human circadian rhythm and a Bio-mimetic approach for the structure of the built form. With the advent of singularity being not so far, this era will also embark the co-existence of human and machine driving the process.


Well, Before getting into the intricacies of our project. Let me get you all through quick facts about Mars.

fact 1fact 2fact 3fact 4fact 6

For more information, visit mars.nasa.gov

Now Let’s Look into our Proposal for the Martian landscape. …..


site 01


The site selection criteria were based on several factors,

  1. The location for the proposal must lie at the lower altitude, preferably a crater to have a reduced impact of the radiation.
  2. The site must be preferably chosen in the northern hemisphere to avoid the impact of long-lasting dust storms and temperature fluctuations.
  3. The site must have relevant resources to support the construction and habitat.
  4. The site must hold a potential for research from an astrobiological perspective.

Considering these factors, The site was chosen in Jezero Crater, which is identified by NASA as one of the potential landing sites for the Mars 2020 rover mission.

Jezero is a crater on Mars located at 18.855°N 77.519°E (Wray, James 6 June 2008) in the Syrtis Major quadrangle. The diameter of the crater is about 49.0 km (30.4 mi). Thought to have once been flooded with water, the crater contains a fan-delta deposit rich in clays. (November 2007, New Scientist Space)

Clay minerals have been detected in and around the crater. (Mangold, N., et al. 2007) The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter identified smectite clays. Clays form in the presence of water, so this area probably once held water and maybe life in ancient times.


design strategy


As explained earlier, Our Material system is an amalgamate of three different materials, mixed in an appropriate proportion.

Mars is called the Red planet for a reason because its surface is predominantly rusted. Rust is nothing but Iron Oxide. So there exists the possibility of separating Iron from Iron Oxide through the reduction reaction.

Recent studies have shown us that water is locked underneath the surface of the planet as Ice. so water could potentially be extracted from the ice.

The site, Jezero crater has shown the evidence of clay deposits ( Martian Regolith)

The geometry adopted was a Dome configuration as it offers the advantage over other geometries, which is its ratio of least surface area to maximum volume.


Advantages of a a Dome configuration. 

In order to achieve the high strength to lesser weight ratio for the structure, a Biomimetic approach was incorporated, a double shell structure abstracted from the Metal carpal bone of a Vulture bird.




construction process

Construction happens in two phases.

  1. Machinic Phase : It takes 9 months for a space ship to make it to Mars. The first Mission will involve only the machines. The construction Team consists of an excavator robot whose role is to excavate the regolith and deposit in one of the  chambers of the Miner craft. The Miner craft consists of two chambers with extracting piles. one for extracting iron and other for water.  Once the materials are deposited and collected in their respective chambers mixing process starts and the material is fed to the storage tank of printer bots, which are of 6-axis.


 Pictorial representation of a typical 6-axis robot. 

The final axis of the robot consists of two Nozzles. One for printing the material and other for heating to solidify it. Meanwhile the magnetic drone bots, attached with magnets move along the printing path.  As the gravity in Mars is considerably low,  Magnetic force helps with this by substantiating the extrusion process in all possible axis. Thus the structural framework will be completed by the machines before the arrival of humans.

2. Anthro-Machinic Phase :

Once the Machinic phase kick starts. The manned mission from our planet takes off.  By the time when Humans land on Mars, Major part of the construction is completed.

This phase involves the co-existence of humans and machines. Having the framework done in place, it is enveloped with ETFE Membrane for shield & visibility and panels coated with titanium oxide & molybendum disuplhide to trap energy from solar radiation and insulated with aerogel.


fuction The spaces were programmed based on the understanding of the sun path and Human Circadian rhythm. The spaces include: Living space, spaces for cooking, sleeping, recreation and a controlled environments for food production, majorly done through hydroponics. Rather than adopting a single whole unit to address all the requirements, The spaces are planned in clusters for various reasons such as safety, functionality, form aesthetics etc.

Follow the image below for more details.


Image showing the Final render, Section, Elevation and a split isometric view explaining  the spatial planning along with material and structural details.  



VZMA6677 (1)

Competition entry Sheet. 

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