Mars Exchange
Artist Envisions Design for Growth

Artist Envisions Design for Growth

by Vince on Monday, 1st February 2016 in Inside 360, People, Bryan Versteeg

Bryan Versteeg is the mission concept artist for Mars One. He has created the images and animations that help us all envision what the settlement will look like. Bryan Versteeg has worked for over 20 years in the graphics industry, including 15 years as a conceptual artist in the architectural and engineering fields. He is the founder of, which provides visualizations of space exploration; cofounder of FreeSpace Composites, a carbon fiber 3D print system; and cofounder of Deep Space Industries, which is focused on determining the methodology and profitability of asteroid mining.

Versteeg’s illustrations for Mars One emerge from a deep understanding of functional demands and human requirements. This summer, I spoke with him about his work and the process he uses to develop his illustrations. The first of this two-part story was told in Artist Visualizes Life on Mars, released on the 5th January, 2016. In this second part, Versteeg describes his ideas about settlement expansion.

Expanding the settlement
The delivered modules can be added on to, so that the habitat keeps branching out in all directions, like a Lego structure. Also, just as we must make food and water from what we have on Mars, we need to be able to create new structures from Martian material. After getting a consistent water and food supply, the crew will start building new structures for incoming settlers. The space will grow exponentially as new settlers arrive.

Expansion could be done via bricks made from Martian soil. Then we can build arches and domes using these bricks. Another way is to use a sintering process, using a 3D printer to create the habitats. We could also use a sort of balloon-papier maché process: inflate a balloon and cover it with concrete made from Martian materials. With that, we can create large structures with huge habitable volumes. So by the time more settlers arrive, the first settlers will have been able to create larger structures. Eventually we will create large spaces. The experience will be like the shift from living in a submarine to living in a gymnasium, with plenty of private space, food-growing space, work space, et cetera. Across the board, more space increases the standard of living for all settlers.

The habitat will shape Martian society
Martian settlers will be isolated from the rest of society on Earth. It’s important that there is the development of a Martian society as soon as possible. Interaction among settlers is essential. When you have a large space, it lessens the necessity for interaction. Early on, it’s important that the majority of living happens in the common areas, where a limited number of settlers will interact with each other. But it’s important that you have a space that is your own to go to.

As the living and working spaces expand, larger areas will become the places to meet. Most habitats will be buried under soil to protect against radiation, but these spaces still need to be bright and inviting. Good light helps people function, helps their circadian rhythms, and helps to encourage social interaction.

The settlers will have a tremendous amount of work to do, as do all societies. Here on earth, every community has people who fulfill different types of roles. Because there is not a lot of leeway on Mars, people will need to be extremely productive and work very hard.

However, some sort of recreation will be important. It could be mental, creative, or physical. These activities will keep settlers stimulated, which is important because a lot of their tasks will be extremely repetitive. They will need to do things like writing, painting, and so forth to keep themselves occupied. And recreation is a great way to build communities and societies. Dancing, theater, art, sports, and games will all help to bond crewmates. They can relate to each other better though these things. Everyone in the settlement is part of a very large team and these interactive games will be good for morale.

Story by Vincent Hyman, a writer and Mars One volunteer living in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

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