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The home – a dome of red imitation Mars rock – was designed with input from Royal Observatory astronomers and Stephen Petranek, the author of How We'll Live on Mars, and launched ahead of National Geographic's docu-drama series MARS. It's intended to be as realistic as possible in terms of dealing with the challenges of the harsh Martian environment.
The dome houses a narrow bunk bed, a 3D printer, a basic exercise machine and a space suit, among other gadgets. The walls of the dome are about two feet thick, but Petranek says that on the Red Planet they would need to be more like 12 or 15 feet thick in order to keep out dangerous levels of cosmic radiation at the planet's surface.
"Mars is a very hostile environment," says Petranek. "Everything on Mars is about the thin atmosphere," he says. "On Mars you have to protect yourself from radiation." Mars is twice as far away from the Sun as Earth. A Martian year is twice as long – 867 days. At the equator in the summer, temperatures can reach 20°C, but are still at least -70°C at night.
ETA: why the red warning light on the tripod, do flying saucers really fly that low?