We’re Getting Closer to a Martian Housing Market


Humans have come so far that we’re back to trying to live in caves. The New York Times reported this week that researchers have been remotely scouting Mars in an effort to identify subterranean caves that would make for a suitable shelter should someone (not me) someday wish to live in them. Geoscientists at the University of Arizona considered two main criteria in their search, and they’re honestly not that different from what you might look for in an apartment: transit accessibility (near a landing site) and good listing photos (high-resolution imagery taken from the HiRISE camera aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter). So far they’ve found nine caves that seem promising.

Why caves? As University of Arizona’s Nicole Bardabelias explained, they could offer humans (not me, again) shelter from Mars’s surface, which is “subject to harsh radiation, possible meteorite or micrometeorite bombardment and really large day-to-night temperature swings.”

Photo: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

So if you’ve gotten tired of mindlessly browsing Zillow and StreetEasy, you can check out HiRISE’s catalogue of photos and help researchers decide what places on Mars to photograph next that may include your (not my) favorite possible future dwelling. (Tantalizing options include: Large New Crater on Mars and Terrain West of Reuyl Crater.)

We’re Getting Closer to a Martian Housing Market