I Feel Like Camping…On Mars!!!

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I know the title of this blog entry seems like the name of a science fiction B-movie about killer bees or a creature from the Black Lagoon. Of course I embellished the exposition a little bit, but this is nonetheless an actual possibility for the future. The ability to camp out on Mars may actually be possible in the near future due to major leaps and bounds in inflatable technology.

According to a recent article in DVICE, some engineers from the State University in North Carolina have developed a gigantic inflatable tent like structure for camping in space:

“Try pitching a tent on Mars and setting up a Sabatier reactor for producing water, fuel and oxygen to survive Mars’ CO2 landscape. With a little bit of luck, a team of engineers at North Carolina State University plan to pitch their new lightweight 1,900-square-foot tent-like structure to the NASA-sponsored RASCAL competition next week. The collapsible structure is made from Demron, a material that is protective against radiation and heat.”

But what about possible meteors flying towards Mars’ surface? Well these engineers have thought of everything. When the Demron is inflated, its dome shape is apparently able to repel meteorites, the article says. There is a small hitch in the plan though:

“The hardest part for the entire plan is of course, figuring out how to make that Sabatier reactor lighter than the heavy one aboard the ISS. The smart peeps at the NCSU think they know how; by using a “nickel nanoparticle coated fiber material” they believe they can drastically reduce the reactor’s weight.”

Nonetheless, the possibilities with a project such as this are wide ranging and quite exciting for those who want to explore the reaches of space. Just think, one day we may be jumping on bounce houses inside an inflatable dome on Mars. Whoa – I just blew my own mind.