Nuwa - Mars City Design Contest 2020

The Nuwa concept was selected as one of the top 10 finalist in the Mars Society - Mars City State competition. The outcome consists on a report (soon available here) and a an on-line presentation on October 17th, 2020 in "The 23rd Annual International Mars Society Convention".

The Nuwa concept : A city that can self-develop on Mars

Nuwa is SONet’s first attempt to formulate a development for a city that can sustain itself and its own growth beyond Earth. Since a large city and its population (100k to 1M) is a complex system with numerous cross dependencies, this goes beyond the classic space engineering exercise of planting a planetary settlement and supplying it. Our economic model consists of postulating that the growth rate is always proportional to the number of inhabitants, and then estimating how many resources are needed to add an additional citizen to the infrastructure. This defines the duties of the current citizens, which consists of maintaining it, sustaining the immigration rate, and expanding its infrastructure. Making a realistic estimate of the resources is a daunting problem because of recurrent dependencies that need to be solved in iterations. For example, energy is needed to fabricate new solar panels, which also requires mineral resources, machines to collect those resources, that need metals and manufacturing infrastructure to produce them, which in turn consume energy.

Estimation of the resources that need to be gathered and transformed to incorporate one citizen to Nuwa, a city on Mars

Apart from machines and infrastructure, the city requires citizens that are motivated and have incentives to join, and then work towards communal and self improvement.

An attractive, durable and resilient settlement on Mars must be based on a redefined system of values and develop its own culture adapted to the radically different environment and political organization.

Therefore, a system of value decoupled from Earth, but based on Martian physical assets, is also needed together with a system of rules, laws and dedicated governance bodies to implement it. The result of the exercise is that, while the model seems viable, especially with the aid of automation and artificial intelligence, it requires much more energy per inhabitant compared to the one required by a person on Earth. At the end of the day this is a reflection of how much our own planet is giving us for free, and how far we need to work towards minimizing our footprint and preserving our own world.

Section of the Nuwa concept with all the human dwelled spaces and associated services embedded on a Martian cliff

To learn more about Nuwa, take a look at our presentation at the Mars Society convention here

Network wide projects & events

EU and national level funding infrastructure public funding proposals (in progress)

Projects supported by SONet

Engineering group design – MSc in Space Engineering, Cranfield University
Current focus : “Sustainable Off-world Settlement 2019”
Organisers : J.P. Sanchez & D. Cullen, Cranfield University

Concepts and proposals

Design of a European Lunar Geotechnics and Materials Handling Demonstration Mission, Submitted to ESA OSIP (Dec 2019, under eval.), Proposing team : D. Cullen (PI), P. Hartlieb, Miquel Sureda, G. Anglada-Escudé, L. Berthoud (funded)

Towards a full scale self-sustainable settlement on Earth. Submitted to ESA OSIP (Dec 2019, under eval.), Proposing team : G. Anglada-Escudé (PI), D. Cullen, Miquel Sureda, L. Berthoud, M. Banchs-Piqué, M. Gaterell (not succesful)