North Dakota is the chosen destination for one particular ‘Mars colony’ that just recently received an expansion. The region, known for its very cold and inhospitable winters, is fitted with several special pods surrounded in an inflatable and soft material. This test site is made possible thanks to both NASA funding and the University of North Dakota’s rugby field where the pods are located. The site is currently being used to conduct research.
According to local news publication The Bismark Tribune, NASA recently expanding this faux Mars colony with four new pods, each one designed with a specific purpose in mind. The funding for the pods was acquired by NASA in 2015; the actual pod construction is still underway. Other pods that have already been installed include a large central main pod and some small sleeping/dining pods connected to it.
Researchers have, at various points over the past few years, lived in the pod for days or weeks at a time. The team of researchers have set out to uncover potential problems future Mars inhabitants may experience, as well as develop solutions for anticipated and known problems. Soon enough, the Mars colony will have a pod dedicated to growing plants, helping researchers explore and understand the needs of growing plants for food in space.
NASA is said to also be prepping an exercise pod in which the faux Mars colonists will be able to exercise and gather data about fitness needs. University of North Dakota students are involved in the faux colony in various ways, including conducting research. Some planned research projects won’t be underway until the news pods’ construction is completed over the coming months.
SOURCE: Bismark Tribune