Hive Mars

Design of a Hybrid-class, scalable Settlement on the Martian Surface


AUTHOR: Archimars: Alessandro Angione, Federica Buono, Ivana Fuscello, Isabella Paradiso, Mirha Vlahovljak, Hana Zečević
YEAR: 2021
STATUS: Unbuilt
INSTAGRAM: @archi.mars


Utilization of in Situ resources is a fundamental capability to be developed for the construction of permanent and semi-permanent structures on Mars and the Moon. Nevertheless, direct human contact with regolith would jeopardize crew health. New design strategies that address such problems need to be explored and developed.

This paper presents a feasible design for a hybrid class 2 / class 3 outpost that includes ISRU (In Situ Resources Utilization) structures integrated with prefabricated inflatable and solid elements, both for pressurized and infrastructure elements. The Architectural Design Thesis Laboratory of the Polytechnic University of Bari, lead by supervisor Prof. Giuseppe Fallacara and assistant supervisor Space Architect Vittorio Netti, in collaboration with University of Houston SICSA (Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture), conducted research on this topic, and, under the name of archi.mars, the group designed a permanent and self-sufficient settlement: “HiveMars”. The proposal explores a concept for the integration of ISRU-enabled and prefabricated structures to create a scalable infrastructure capable of supporting human life on the surface.

To reduce mission costs and launch load from Earth, eight different automated rovers will prepare the site area before the crew’s arrival. Following the site exploration phase (identified in the Hellas Planitia, in the martian southern hemisphere) the automated surface assets will proceed with the material collection, processing, and construction of the main infrastructures, including Landing pads and roads.

The first habitat nucleus is composed of three self-supporting, inter-connected domes, built with Martian regolith using additive manufacturing, and outfitted with an inflatable, pressurized core that hosts the pre-integrated ECLSS (Environmental Control and Life Support System) and the internal infrastructure. A pre-integrated dome on the top of the prefabricated core ensures the right amount of natural light while protecting the internal habitat from radiations and micro-meteoroid impacts.


“Hive Mars” represents the first research thesis carried out in Italy on the theme of Space Architecture, in particular architecture on other planets. The aim of the Thesis Laboratory in Architectural Design is to spread the discipline starting from a national context through the homonymous YouTube channel “Archi Mars”, where lectures are held by various figures specialized in the discipline, the social platforms Facebook and Instagram and the future publication of a book on the research conducted by the team (Alessandro Angione, Federica Buono, Ivana Fuscello, Isabella Paradiso, Mirha Vlahovljak, Hana Zečević)

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