Let’s say everything else is fine and we plan to have soon 50 people living on Mars. What would we need for a minimal welfare state? I can imagine whoever signed for such an enterprise must be of a special type of people, however, this is not a reason for being uncivilised. Let’s start with the basic needs and keep building up from there.
Food is a must. We all know, as I said before, that probably we can plant potatoes on Mars. With potatoes we can prepare a wide variety of dishes, but it’s not going to be enough for a healthy diet. We need variety. This is my bet: mushrooms. They are easy to grow and varied in flavour. They can even be used to build walls, doubling then on usage. Imagine it like this: when you’re hungry, you can eat a wall. In addition it is relatively easy to transport them, as easy as seeds, but they may not need as much space, or as much light as a crop of wheat, for example. How about animals? What kind of animals they will have, if any? Will they bring pigs, cows, or chickens? Those big animals may not easily fit on a spaceship, where each millimetre and each pound costs money. The solution is to travel with eggs : chicken, doves, and fishes. The biosphere can then be completed with insects like earthworms.
We have described above a very basic ecosystem where the human is at the top. We can discuss how to control that in another post, but where should that ecosystem be? Integrated with the colony or separated? I would say separated – after all animals are animals – so we will need at least two buildings, the Biodome and the Housedome. Our putative martians can go to the Biodome to enjoy an Earth-like farm, so to say, and keep the Housdome automatically cleaned. Maybe the Housedome can even be just the cockpit of the Spaceship, or maybe built from a dismantled one. I will add a third one that I will call the Tooldome, where the workshop is situated, basically a huge space with atmospheric pressure so that people can work comfortably without any spacesuit on, for example, repairing a rover or an air machine, like the ones used to create a breathable environment. It can also be used as a party hall, or cinema, or even a baseball field. Yeah, why not. Baseball in Mars! Technicalities will be discussed in the future, if I stay here, of course. That I will, most probably. So see you next time!