Open Architecture and Xiaomi Unveil a Tiny Shelter Designed for Living on Mars

Recently Beijing held an event aimed at the future of housing. During this event, the company Open Architecture, in conjunction with Chinese electronics firm Xiaomi, revealed a tiny shelter for Mars. At this stage, it is very conceptual, and as of now, there’s nothing to confirm the dwelling will be installed on the Red Planet. However, it’s interesting to see the way the architects addressed the idea.

The Mars Case prototype drew inspiration from the book Walden by Henry David Thoreau. The concept is about simplicity and self-reliance (the book is a significant influence on the small living movement). The shelter measures 2.4 x 2.4 x 2 m (7.87 x 7.87 x 6.5 ft) and certainly looks the part, it is made up of a rectangular suitcase-like section and an inflatable bulbous front area.

The plan would be to transport the suitcase-like box to Mars somehow then, the bulbous inflatable part with integrated windows would expand outward automatically, resulting in a comfortable shelter.

Inside there is the main living area and what seems to be a bathroom and storage area, in addition to a desk and seating area. Open Architecture explained that the home would recycle heat and any condensation to lower the consumption of resources, although they don’t go into specifics on how this would be accomplished, due to the scope of the project. What’s more, they don’t address the other challenges including radiation and the harsh local conditions.

Moreover, due to the collaboration with Xiaomi, Open Architecture foresees the Mars Case shelter being equipped with smartphone-operated appliances as well. Although it may seem funny that future Mars colonists would bring their Mi Mix 3 with them, the firm does mention that the tiny dwelling could be used here on Earth (where at least we know smartphones will work as expected). Still, this is very much a conceptual project with no concrete plans to produce it.

Other notable habitats for living on Mars include SpaceHabs, Ice House, and Foster + Partners’ 3D-printed Mars shelter.


Image Credit: SergeyDV / Shutterstock


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