Category Archives: Architecture

Foster + Partners: Virgin Galactic Spaceport New Mexico

“…we must all evangelize an exploration society predicated on settlement. This ultimately is the real cause of the exploration that we seek. To create a spacefaring civilization, a civilization of vibrant communities living and working beyond Earth. This is the crucial link which ties together space exploration, private enterprise, and public participation. Settlement is the destination for exploration’s efforts. Without it exploration is dead.” 
George Whitesides, CEO and President, Virgin Galactic 
Location: New Mexico, USA
Client: New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) 
Tenant: Virgin Galactic
Architectural Lead Design: 
Norman Foster 
Grant Brooker 
Antoinette Nassopoulos-Erickson 
Joon Paik 
Hiroyuki Sube 
See Teck Yeo 
Kristine Ngan

“…what NASA seemed to forget was that we all wanted to go. We all wanted to go and somehow we lost that. We all wanted to go and it was almost taken away. How many people believe that they can go? And until we get that excitement back, nothing much is going to change…we all wanted to go and we were forgotten about. Those who wanted to go were forgotten.” Anthony Tether, DARPA

Bryan Versteeg:

Bryan Versteeg has worked for over 20 years in the graphics industry and specifically the last 15
years working as a conceptual artist in the architectural and engineering field.

He has run his own studio for the last 6 years and in 2011 started to focus on
conceptual visualizations for space exploration. Bryan is responsible for all the beautiful
animations and illustrations on the Mars One website.

The Mars Foundation: "To Arrive, Survive, and Thrive"

Near-term, reliant upon only contemporary technology and human ingenuity, engineers, planetary scientists, and architects work together through the Mars Foundation to create blueprints for our species to permanently settle and thrive on another planet, now.

Plans extend from first footfall to dirt covered surface habs to mountain side settlements. The ultimate goal of the project is to design, fund, and build a thriving, growing, permanent settlement on Mars. The initial goal for the Mars Homestead Project is to identify the core technologies needed for an economical, growing Mars Base built primarily with local materials. Efforts will then be focused on prototype projects of increasing sophistication. These include the selection of existing off-the-shelf equipment which could be used on Mars and the construction of prototypes of new technologies.

Below and above are images of interiors of the tubular surface living quarters and greenhouses expected to be used during the first decade of settlement.

The image below, by Phil Smith, depicts a large, open, multi-story masonry structure located deep within hillsides. Natural sunlight is directed into this area from lightpipes above. A Mars settler leans on the bamboo rail and takes in the view, which includes lush greenery and wide open spaces.

Areas of expertise include: Materials, Structures, Mechanical Systems, Architecture, Agriculture, Nutrition, Process/PSSS, Electrical Systems, I&C, Data/Telecom, EHS, IE, Mars Geology/Topography, Space Transportation, Spacesuits, Systems Integration, and many others.

Some locally derived materials have been examined for initial settlement construction. These materials include locally produced fiberglass – wound on site, metals, masonry – either for un-pressurized shelter or covered with regolith to hold the pressure, polyethylene & other polymers made from ethylene from the CO2 atmosphere, and any plant products – especially if a byproduct of food growth. The MHP team continues to evaluate these options as well as a number of potential alternatives.

If you would like to join their team or help in any way please visit The Mars Foundation’s site at: