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Underground on the Red Planet

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:Photo:ZA Architects
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Martian skylights

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.

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Cave colony

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.

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Homebuilders on Mars

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.

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High ceilings

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.

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Colony schematic

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?

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