- Ten winners were named in the first phase of the HP Mars Home Planet competition at Autodesk's flagship event, Autodesk University, in Las Vegas Wednesday. Using the Launch Forth platform, participants submitted conceptual designs for buildings, vehicles, smart cities and transportation systems that could support 1 million humans on Mars.
- Winners from across the world were named in 10 categories, including infrastructure, transportation, architecture, design and engineering.
- Phase 2, the 3-D modeling competition, is now open. Participants must use Autodesk software to create 3-D models of buildings, city infrastructure, vehicles, sports stadiums, city parks, schools, furniture and other elements that would be found in human civilization. Submissions close Feb. 25, 2018.
Three-dimensional modeling is no longer exclusive to applications on Planet Earth. With NASA's Centennial Challenge, the third phase of which was opened last week, and Northwestern University scientists developing "Martian Concrete" in 2016, humans are exhibiting more interest and gearing more innovation toward creating a livable community on the Red Planet.
Although Mars is relatively close to Earth, visiting the planet would necessitate a 260-day journey when the planets are nearest one another. Once humans got there, however, the question remains of whether they could first land on Mars and then, ultimately, if they could live there. Challenges such as NASA's Centennial and HP's Mars Home Planet aim to address the livability questions, while NASA is investigating the landing challenges.
Before humans can make it to Mars, NASA's Mars 2020 Mission is testing landing capabilities with a rover that will investigate evidence of ancient life and cache drilled samples of Martian rocks.
NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) program has its first targets set for landing humans on Mars, with the potential for Saturn and Jupiter exploration in the future. It's hoping to send a human-operated flight by 2023. Three related projects are under construction at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL.
Elon Musk also has hopes for involving more humans in future space exploration. Musk's company SpaceX hopes to send a cargo mission to Mars by 2022, followed by humans about two years thereafter.