NASA has begun developing the living quarters for its planned manned mission to Mars in 2030, with the space agency revealing that it will include a home cinema within an underground bunker to keep astronauts entertained.
Speaking exclusively to CE Pro Europe, NASA spokesperson George Diller revealed that the agency is currently working on a simulator to ascertain whether a home cinema would be feasible in Mars’ harsh atmosphere.
While manned missions to Mars have been discussed for decades, it’s only recently that NASA has begun exploring the possibility, with the agency planning a manned mission in 2030, following the deployment of a new Mars rover in 2020.
As part of the Mars 2020 project, NASA plans to deploy equipment to prepare for its first manned mission in 2030. The equipment involved will include an ‘armada’ of robots which will prepare the underground bunker which the astronauts will use.
According to George, “living underground eliminates the need for above ground shielding and offers many other advantages in regards to human survivability.”
Due to the amount of time it takes to get to Mars, NASA wants to ensure its astronauts can live on the planet for as long as possible – although it does intend for its manned missions to be return trips.
Scientists at NASA have deduced that in order to maintain the sanity of astronauts they will need various forms of stimulation, which includes a gym, a home cinema and an indoor tennis court. Astronauts will also have to learn how to cultivate their own food using the planned greenhouse, which will be constructed on Mars’ surface.
Astronauts will have to learn to live alongside robots however, with much of the base being constructed, maintained and operated by the artificially intelligent beings, allowing the astronauts to further explore the planet.
While a home cinema on Mars sounds infeasible, NASA has reportedly expanded its partnership with Screen Innovations, which originally led to a home cinema screen on the International Space Station.
In that installation, Screen Innovations developed the ISS ViewScreen, a portable, 65in, ambient light-rejecting, zero gravity screen that replaced the 13in, tablet-sized displays that crew members had been using to communicate with Mission Control.
Screen Innovations is supposedly planning to go even bigger for the Mars project, with an 85in screen currently under development. Unlike its ISS ViewScreen however, the Mars screen will benefit from at least some gravity – 3.711 m/s² to be exact. While that’s a third of Earth’s gravity, the screen should be easier to produce.
Alongside the 85in screen, NASA is partnering with Barco on a prototype projector designed specifically for use on Mars. While laser technology is currently all the rage, Barco is reported to be working on a technology that will be better suited for long-term use.
George states that the decision to work with Barco was clear, as the company was willing to go above and beyond to produce a projector specifically for the Mars mission. Already the R&D costs of the Mars projector are supposedly above that of any other projector Barco has created.
Imagery will be an important aspect of the Mars home cinema, as the astronauts plan to use it for interacting with earth, as well as for watching films and playing video games. Equally important however will be the sound system.
George adds: “For the ultimate sound experience in space we couldn’t think of a better technology to use than Dolby Atmos.”
Rather conveniently, Dolby Atmos already enjoys a space-themed name, which will make it perfect for the Mars mission.
NASA currently has no plans to show off its underground bunker to the public, but says that development will continue until the very last minute.
Unfortunately NASA has no plans, as far as we know, to install a home cinema on Mars – we hope you enjoyed our April Fool’s joke however!