Humans might not be capable of making the journey to Mars just yet, but a Mars-like village could soon be landing in the Mojave Desert – and if all goes according to plan, it may eventually help pave the way to the red planet itself.

A rendering of Interstellar Lab's EBIOS project - biodomes with the sun on the horizon in the distance
Construction on the self-sustaining, bio-regenerative village is set to begin next year © 2020 Interstellar Lab

Working under the assumption that technologies designed for exploring other worlds should also improve life on Earth, Interstellar Lab has designed a self-sustaining, regenerative village of biomes inspired by the conditions on Mars – and in tempting news for sustainably minded travelers, it will eventually be open to the public for overnight stays for half the year. (Of course, such access comes at a cost – potentially between $3000 (€3531) and $6000 (€7062) per week, CEO Barbara Belvisi told Venture Beat in November.)

A rendering of Interstellar Lab's EBIOS project from a distance
Interstellar Lab's EBIOS project will feature a network of stations, each designed as a hospitality and science center for astronaut training, scientific research, and agriculture © 2020 Interstellar Lab

A testing ground for astronaut training and space-settlement tech, the closed-loop village known as EBIOS (Experimental BIOregenerative Station) will produce and recycle water, food, and energy for 100 people, leaving a carbon-neutral footprint and creating zero waste

Inside the biodome - beige walls and floor with organic-shaped skylights and a curving staircase
Each station will also boast an art and music center and a science area with laboratories © 2020 Interstellar Lab

“From water treatment [and] waste management to food production systems, we are developing solutions that can be implemented right now on Earth, and we are preparing for future settlement on other planets,” Belvisi said in a press release. 

It took two years of research and development, plus close collaboration with NASA on water treatment, plant-growth systems, 3D printing, and an analysis of human behavior in tight quarters, before Interstellar’s plans for the village were revealed. Construction is expected to begin in the Mojave Desert in 2021, and a second location at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center could follow soon after. 

A minimalist room with dark-wood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, a bed with a black frame, and tufted grey material on the wall behind the headboard
Guests will be able to book an overnight stay for half the year; the other half is dedicated to the professionals @ 2020 Interstellar Lab

"A long-term, sustainable Mars or lunar settlement will only be practical if we do the research on Earth and really test the viability of different systems,” Greg Autry, director of the SoCal Commercial Spaceflight Initiative and former White House Liaison at NASA, said in a press release. 

Plants (ferns and trees) inside one of the biodomes
Interstellar worked with NASA on plant-growth systems, among other things @ 2020 Interstellar Lab

From a cave in Cantabria that mimics life on Mars to an island in the Canaries that bears an uncanny resemblance to the planet to a London museum exhibit detailing what, exactly, we’d need to pack to move to Mars, the red planet is certainly capturing the public imagination – thanks in no small part to the increasing havoc wreaked by climate change. "The two planets share a common ground,” Belvisi said. "What we need to bring on Mars for life is what we need to protect on Earth right now. The only path to become a multi-planet species is to join our energy towards the same direction.”

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