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Christmas Gift Guide

Underground on the Red Planet

Martian skylights

Cave colony

Homebuilders on Mars

High ceilings

Colony schematic

While space colonization plans such as Mars One seek applicants, Germany's ZA Architects has an intriguing plan for housing inhabitants: underground basalt caverns.

The voids would be carved out by solar-powered robots that land on the surface of Mars before humans set foot on it. They would take advantage of the basalt bedrock columns on the planet to create cathedral-like spaces underground, according to the plan.

Caption by / Photo by ZA Architects
Everyone loves a skylight, and ZA Architects' Mars colony plan would feature plenty of them. The robots that hack out spaces in the underground bedrock would leave room for above-ground light from the sun, creating a truly otherworldly atmosphere.
Caption by / Photo by ZA Architects
Proposed by Dmitry Zhuikov, Arina Ageeva, and Krassimir Krastev, ZA Architects' Mars home would be an aesthetically unique space mixing web-like structures with hexagonal basalt columns.
Caption by / Photo by ZA Architects
The exterior of the Mars colony would feature a network of ridges, built from the extracted basalt, that would protect the skylights from wind and dust.
Caption by / Photo by ZA Architects
As the robot diggers progress downward from the surface, they would extract increasingly large areas of basalt. But they would leave strong basalt columns in place, creating a tall, cathedral-style dwelling.
Caption by / Photo by ZA Architects

Digger robots aside, there are other significant technological hurdles to creating an underground warren for humans on Mars. But Arina Ageeva of ZA Architects believes humans will be sent there within 10 years.

"Right now it...may not be possible, because such robotics do not exist, but generally we don't see anything unrealistic in this proposition," she told Dezeen. What do you think?

Caption by / Photo by ZA Architects
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