From Five Villages to a Self-Sustaining City

Star City was awarded the first prize among 100 entries at the Mars Colony Prize Design Contest in October 2019 by a panel of judges including experts from the Mars Society, NASA and SpaceX. 

The Star City concept is a vision and a plan for starting up a successful human settlement on the planet Mars. With several thousand tons of cargo and equipment at their disposal, and with strong bonds of friendship forged during their six-month flight to the Red Planet, the first sixty humans start out by building five energy-rich, culturally diverse villages within a few kilometers of each other. Throughout their growth years, each village will have access to the other four for material and social support, inspiration, leisure, new ideas and socialization. Eventually, the villages merge into Star City, retaining their organic cultural distinctiveness.

The design provides the first humans on Mars with abundant energy, flexible and efficient construction and industrial capabilities and opportunities for physical, personal and societal growth. The residents of Star City will integrate and deploy technologies for tunneling, in-situ resource utilization and additive manufacturing to shorten system development cycles from years to weeks. This will better equip them to solve unknown-unknown problems and power their own safe, organic and sustainable growth.

A human capital development strategy which emphasizes acquisition of cross-cutting life skills and dual professional specializations will underpin resilience and growth of all sociotechnical systems. Following the substantial completion of the construction phase for Star City, its residents will leverage their accumulated local know-how, social capital and equipment to compete as the lowest-cost provider for the construction of new outposts and cities on Mars. This is expected to provide Star City’s residents with hard currency with which they can sustainably pay for travel and trade from and to the Earth.

For more information on the Star City concept, the full 20-page paper submitted to the competition in March 2019 can be downloaded here, you can read the MIT News story, watch the YouTube video of the 30-minute final presentation, and look at some extra pictures in the Gallery tab.