If humans start to build cities on Mars, we have the opportunity to build sustainably from the beginning. A team from the Mbadachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) designed an ecological city for the red planet that imitates a forest, with solar dome habitats connected with roots or tunnels. His vision, called Redwood Forest, recently won first place in the architecture category of the Mars City Design competition.
A maximum of 50 people can reside in each of the domes of the Redwood forest, which offer open space with plants and water – harvested in the northern plains of Mars – on roots with access to private spaces and other domes. Roots also protect colonizers from cosmic radiation, extreme thermal changes or micrometeorite impacts.
Related: Stefano Boeri Architects visualizes a Vertical Forest City on Mars
The city of 10,000 people will "physically and functionally imitate a forest" according to MIT postdoctoral researcher and team co-director Valentina Sumini, and will resort to resources local ice, regolith and water. MIT PhD student George Lordos said: "All arboreal habitats in the Redwood Forest will collect energy from the sun and use it to process and transport water throughout the tree, and each tree is designed as a water-rich environment. Water fills the soft cells inside the dome providing protection from radiation, helps to manage the heat load and supplies hydroponic farms for growing fish and vegetables. "
 Solar panels will generate energy to divide the stored water to produce oxygen and rocket fuel, said Lordos. Solar energy will also help to load hydrogen fuel cells, "necessary to power long-range vehicles and to provide backup energy storage in the event of dust storms."
These ideas would not only work on the red planet. The MIT team says that many of its design features could be applied to Earth. Multilevel underground networks could alleviate overhead traffic by offering an alternative route for electric cars. Hydroponic gardens below cities could grow fresh produce with lower transportation costs and land. And its arboreal habitat design, said MIT, "could create living and working spaces in hostile environments, such as high latitudes, deserts and the seabed"
+ Mars City Design
Via News from MIT
Images through Valentina Sumini / MIT