23.10.2019 change 23.10.2019

Wrocław Students Scoop Second Place At International ‘Life on Mars’ Competition

Visualization of the "Twardowsky" colony. Credit: Wojciech Fikus Visualization of the "Twardowsky" colony. Credit: Wojciech Fikus

Designs of Mars settlements prepared by students of the Wrocław University of Science and Technology have been awarded at the international Mars Colony Prize contest.

Beating off competition from 100 other entries from around the world, the Wrocław students took silver with their "Twardowsky" concept.

In a double success, students from the same university came in fifth with their "Ideacity" project.

The Mars Colony Prize contest was organized as part of the Annual International Mars Society Convention, attracting scientists and entrepreneurs involved in the subject of space research and exploration.

The contest participants` task was to design a self-sustaining Martian colony.

Michał Ciepielski from the press office of the Wrocław University of Science and Technology explained in a release: "The settlement should import as few goods as possible from Earth, while producing export products to sustain itself.

“The city must produce food for its residents, as well as building materials needed for gradual expansion."

According to a description on the university’s website, the "Twardowsky" concept assumes the establishment of a colony in the Jezero crater, which is the planned landing site of the NASA`s Mars 2020 mission.

Residents of the settlement would be divided into groups of two hundred people.

They would stay in large open spaces with a terrace layout and access to greenery, and their apartments would be located next to restaurants, cafes, shops and medical facilities.

Food production on "Twardowski" would be based on aquaponics, a combination of fish farming in large aquariums with plant cultivation in water.

The "Ideacity" concept is based on the Renaissance concept of an ideal city.

Therefore, it assumes short distances (the city would be built on a hexagon plan with a side of 400 m), the centre being the heart of the colony, and a network of both underground tunnels allowing to move around the city without exposure to external conditions, as well as roads on the surface enabling the movement of cargo vehicles.

Closer to the centre, students designed buildings for everyday use, while industrial buildings would be located in the outer part of the colony.

Both students and engineers working in space companies competed in the contest. The jury evaluated a total of one hundred designs from around the world.

Ten projects developed by Russians, Swedes, Americans, French and Swiss as well as two proposals of teams from the Wrocław University of Science and Technology made it through to the finals.

The winning design was "Star City" from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with a Russian team taking third place for their "CrowdSpace" design.

PAP - Science in Poland, Agata Tomczyńska

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