Swedish concept artist Ville Ericsson has revealed his amazing drawings of a futuristic colony on Mars
When humans first ventured into space in the 1960s, many thought that by the 21st century we would have at least landed people on Mars, and possibly even colonized it.
But while those dreams haven’t materialized just yet, it hasn’t stopped visionaries from imagining what a human colony on the red planet might look like in the future.
And these beautiful illustrations are no different, revealing cities encased in glass and climbers on a huge Martian volcano, as a space station orbits overhead.
The drawings were created by Ville Ericsson, a 26-year-old concept artist and illustrator from Stockholm, Sweden.
They envision a future Mars that has not only been colonized, but partially terraformed – turned Earth-like – as well.
Mr Ericsson’s drawings show huge transparent domes with cities inside, and also plants and grass growing on the ground.
Domes have been suggested as a good structure to use on Mars, as they can be built fairly large while remaining intact, and withstand the low-pressure Martian environment.
Inside the pressurized dome, people can walk about without the need for a spacesuit, as shown in one of the images.
In the drawings a team of climbers are also seen scaling the side of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano not only on the red planet, but in the solar system as well.
Olympus Mons is 25 miles (16km) high, three times the height of Mount Everest, and about 374 miles (624km) across, roughly the size of France.
Two other images show a space station in orbit around the red planet, bearing some similarities to the ISS. The large modular-like structure has solar panels to provide power, in addition to large fuel tanks, while a rotating section provides artificial gravity for the crew on board.
MISSIONS TO MARS
Owing to the orbits of Earth and Mars, there are specific windows of opportunity when missions can take place.
Our planets come as close to each other as 33.9 million miles (54.6 million km), but can be as distant as 250 million miles (400 million km).
For this reason spacecraft to Mars, such as the Curiosity rover, have to launch in certain windows when the planets are aligned.
The next window is open from January 2016 to April 2016, and will see the launch of two more missions to the red planet.
For a future manned mission, they will need to launch out in one of the windows and return in another.
Just getting there will take up to nine months. The astronauts will then be there waiting for a year until they can come back, again taking up to nine months – a total of around three years.
‘The idea of starting fresh on another planet really compels me,’ said Mr Ericsson. ‘It would mean a chance for us humans to learn from our mistakes as a society and use our collective knowledge to build something beautiful.
‘Technologically it would be extremely difficult; Mars doesn’t have an active core, so there’s no magnetosphere to protect the surface from solar radiation, which means that it’s an incredibly dangerous place, but Mars is still one of the best shots we have at colonizing another planet.’
The subject of landing humans on Mars has gained a lot of traction in recent years, and Nasa is currently working towards the goal of landing humans there in the 2030s.
It is likely they will enlist the help of other national agencies such as Esa, while private companies like SpaceX and Bigelow Aerospace have also stated their desire to be involved in a Mars mission.
The building of Nasa’s giant Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is already underway, which will take humans and the equipment they need to Mars.
The agency has also developed the spacecraft that will take them to and from Earth – Orion – as well as the sophisticated heat shield that will enable the astronauts to pass through the Martian atmosphere, called the low-density supersonic decelerator (LDSD).
Of course, these early missions will pale in comparison to the colonies envisioned by Mr Ericsson, but perhaps one day there will be fully-fledged colonies on Mars, and they might not look too dissimilar.