Overview of Mars Habitats

Regardless of if Mars once supported life, or currently supports extremophiles, it is not capable of supporting large lifeforms such as Humans and the animal and plant life that we need to live.

This activity will look at making Mars habitats (Mars Analogues) on Earth, those made by NASA and other Space agencies and companies and those you can make at home or at School. As well as virtual simulations of Mars and designing Mars Missions at home and School using LEGO or other materials.

A Mars Analogue is an Earth based or virtual experiment i.e.

  • ESA.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Mars500/Mars500_study_overview – Mars500 was an experiment conducted between 2007 and 2011 by Russia, the European Space Agency and China, in preparation for an unspecified future manned spaceflight to the planet Mars
  • Arctic.Marssociety.org – Located on Devon Island 165 kilometers north east of the hamlet of Resolute in Nunavut, Canada, the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) is a unique Mars exploration analog research facility established in 2000 by the Mars Society, the world’s largest space advocacy group dedicated to the human exploration and settlement of the Red Planet.
  • mdrs.Marssociety.org – The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), owned and operated by the Mars Society, is a full-scale analog facility in Utah that supports Earth-based research in pursuit of the technology, operations, and science required for human space exploration.
  • blogs.ESA.int/Concordia – Concordia Station is the third permanent, all-year research station on the Antarctic Plateau besides Vostok Station (Russian) and the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station (U.S.) at the Geographic South Pole. It is jointly operated by scientists from France and Italy and regularly hosts ESA scientists.
  • NASA.gov/mission_pages/NEEMO/ – NEEMO is a NASA mission that sends groups of astronauts, engineers and scientists to live in Aquarius, the world’s only undersea research station, for up to three weeks at a time. The Aquarius habitat and its surroundings provide a convincing analogue for space exploration.
  • Hi-Seas.org – HI-SEAS (Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) is a Habitat on an isolated Mars-like site on the Mauna Loa side of the saddle area on the Big Island of Hawaii at approximately 8200 feet above sea level.
  • Spacegeneration.org/home/1660-mars-analogue-simulation-news.html – Analogue simulation missions are notable steps of real space exploration missions, where the hardware, along with the psychological behaviour, the scientific and geological experiments, and operations are scrutinised and conducted in a simulated Martian environment to prepare astronauts and space agencies for actual missions.

Minecraft & Other Virtual Reality Resources

When making a Mars habitat you will need to meet the same requirements as the Mars Analogues that are currently in development. Minecraft EDU and the Galacticraft mod are a great way to highlight these needs as the game and mod have been built in Mars climate and gravity as well as the need for growing and farming food.

In previous topics the effects of the Mars climate was investigated, these included the lack of Oxygen and Atmospheric Pressure, the low Temperatures. In Minecraft you can play in survival mode, where your character needs to eat to survive. The Galacticraft Mod adds the need to keep warm and breath.

Activities in Schools

Here’s a range of free activities that you can use in your classroom.

Play the Game

Objective – The Rover needs to provide the electricity, water, oxygen, temperature and pressure that the Mars Astronaut requires to survive. Observe how the readings change.
Start the Game – Click anywhere on the left to start. Press the Green Flag to restart the Game
How to Control – Use the Space Bar. Tap the Space Bar to continue

Further Materials, Resources & Information

Below you will find more resources and external websites related to this lesson.

  • Mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/mission/instruments/moxie – NASA is preparing for human exploration of Mars, and MOXIE will demonstrate a way that future explorers might produce oxygen from the Martian atmosphere for propellant and for breathing.

Full STEAM Ahead – Space Exploration Education Grant

UK Space AgencyThis lesson has been produced as part of the Full STEAM Ahead Project with the UK Space Agency. We are one of eight organisations across the UK to be awarded to deliver and produce exciting new education outreach activities and projects. The UK Space Agency are delighted to be able to support these projects, which represent a diverse selection of cross-curricular activities that meet it’s education objectives in encouraging children to take up STEAM subjects, raise awareness of careers in space-related areas, and raise awareness of the UK’s exploration programme.


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