As part of my graduate thesis "The Mars Underground City", I had to create a "future history" in which all of the legwork, needed to presuppose long-term and large-scale human habitation of Mars, made sense. As part of this future history, I created an entire narrative about when humanity first landed on Mars, where they went and why, how often they went back, and eventually how missions coalesced around the idea of settling underground in naturally occurring lava tubes.
The image shown here, originally labelled "VESTA-06-MM-032" is the 32nd photograph returned from the sixth manned mission of the Vesta program, the hypothetical manned spaceflight mission where humanity first explored Martian lava tubes. The image shows astronauts entering the tube through a naturally occurring skylight, and serves as a touchstone for future missions which led to successful human habitation in the Mars Underground City. As shown in the thesis, such skylights eventually inspired the creation of man-made versions, which were critical to the creation of the original Martian Solar Monuments, which in turn became the impetus for much of the Martian culture.
Austin Edwards is a designer, based in New York City, currently working for Studio Gang Architects. Prior to living in New York, Austin received an undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering from Auburn University while interning at NASA, after which he received an M.Arch degree from the University of Virginia. His post-graduate thesis focused on combining those interests by considering the future habitation of Mars, where he posited architecture's fundamental role in extraplanetary living as not survival architecture, but architecture as both an information delivery system and a cultural catalyst. He continues to explore ideas about how architecture can function in this role, both on Earth and elsewhere.
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