A Window Into Mars


When we finally get to Mars, where will we live?

That seems like a pretty obvious question. We’ve all seen the movies, read the books. In the future, we live where I live now: in white domes on the surface of forbidding planets, in full view of local and cosmic radiation, exposed to the whims of weather systems, struggling to maintain internal comfort and safety in the face of shifting temperature extremes only a few inches outside our fragile walls….

…Yeah. Living in white domes on the surface of other planets is a lot like standing in front of those booths at the state fairs where everything from Mars bars to ding-dongs is dipped in batter and fried. The longer you think about it, the worse an idea it seems.

Fortunately, the surface of a planet is only one of many possible places where one can live in space. Generally speaking, by volume, there is much, MUCH more space below the surface of a planetary body than on it.

When it comes to living on Mars – or, in this case, IN Mars – we have a bit of a leg up. Our nearest potentially-habitable neighbor shares an important geologic feature with Earth. It’s one that we have no end of here on sMars, and could make all the difference when we decide to try living on another planet: volcanism.

For sure, you don’t want to roll up on an active volcano and start digging. Or, in this case, spelunking. Dormant volcanoes, on the other hand, are a great place to live. Lava loves to travel long distances if it can. As terrifying as a lava flow covering the surface can be, that’s not how lava prefers to travel. If it can, lava travels by tube.

Beneath the —> Read More