Nüwa City: the future capital of Mars

A presentation of an ambitious project to create a self-sufficient, sustainable city on Mars for 250,000 people. 

In February 2020, Mars Society, a non-profit dedicated to promoting the exploration and colonization of Mars, launched a competition to find the best design for a city on Mars.  Out of 175 submissions, 10 were chosen, and of those, it is Nüwa City that stands out. 

As a result, the design was submitted by architects from ABIBOO Studios, and was presented in October 2020 at the 23rd annual convention of the Mars Society, in the presence of Elon Musk of Space X, George Whitesides of Virgin Galactic and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

Nüwa City is intended to be the capital of five colonies, be entirely self-sufficient and house up to 250,000 people.

The name is a derivative of a goddess in Chinese mythology, Nüwa, who is the creator and protector of Humanity and that, according to the myth, has fused together 5 stones (hence the number of cities) to give stable pillars to the nascent society.

The chosen site for Nüwa City is Tempe Mensa, specifically on the slopes of one of the cliffs, in an area where scientists believe water can be accessed.

The settlement will feature modular, tubular buildings that will be built on steep terrain, creating a true vertical city in the rock that will have access to indirect sunlight but at the same time be protected from both radiation and possible meteors.

“If we were to construct the buildings as on Earth, they would tend to explode due to the very high pressure. Solar radiation and gamma rays on Mars forced us to think of spaces that are not directly exposed to the sky,”

said Alfredo Muñoz, Founder of ABIBOO Studio

The proposal for Nüwa City includes: 

  • Both residential and business accommodation 
  • Areas for raising livestock 
  • Solar power generation 
  • Food and energy generation at the clifftop for complete self-sufficiency 
  • CO2 conversion to O2 and water within the city 
  • Sports facilities and other recreational opportunities 
  • The completed city will cover 600 million square meter

Buildings within the city will be modular and follow a simple to construct pattern, including: 

  • Modular Spaces that can be built quickly and easily replicable 
  • Tubular shaped, 60-meters long with a 10-meter diameter, they will be dug into the rock 
  • Each module will include a green space, urban gardens and condensation areas to dissipate heat and clean the air 
  • Large domes for food production, known as green domes. 
  • Large common areas will double as emergency shelters 
  • Tunnels and elevators will be used to connect modules together 
  • Eventually vehicular travel will be possible 
Read more: Hive Mars, a projec of a human settlement on Mars

Colonization of Mars – a common dream 

In conclusion, for 60 years we have dreamed of colonizing Mars. Now, thanks to innovative experts and technological evolution, that dream is ready to become reality and the race for the colonization of the Red Planet could become more concrete…

…And to achieve this common goal, brilliant people across so many different fields, from architecture to astrophysics, from space engineering to chemistry, from astrogeology to design are working together.

Read more: five reasons you should study Space Architecture

Developed by the SONet Network, a team of scientists and academics around the world, who have analyzed the Nüwa City proposal from ABIBOO Studio, and believe that work on the colony could begin by 2054, taking 50 years. In 2100, people could start moving to Mars, with each journey carrying 1,000 people and taking 250 days.

The program estimates that, starting in 2100, 1,000 people could be sent each year, on a journey that would last around 250 days. 

To date, however, Nüwa City remains an ambitious and futuristic project and, if it is ever completed, it will most likely not be a place accessible to everyone. Affordability would be an issue with current estimates at $300,000 per trip, making it an exclusive colony for the wealthy. In addition to the trip, accommodation of 24-35 square meters and access to common facilities should be included.

However, the dynamics can change as we approach that time.

Certainly, the reality is, people born today could live to see a colony on Mars.  

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