10 November – London, UK – National Geographic today unveiled the first ever Mars show home, providing a glimpse of what life on the red planet could be like in a matter of decades.

Open at the Royal Observatory Greenwich until Wednesday November 16th, the impressive regolith (Martian soil) style habitat set in 2037 is based on consultation with the Observatory’s astronomers and Stephen Petranek, author of How We’ll Live On Mars, the inspiration for Ron Howard’s epic new mini-series MARS, which premieres this Sunday at 9pm on National Geographic.

The Mars Show Home arrives in London as a survey commissioned to mark the premiere of MARS reveals almost 1 in 3 (30%) of us would consider living on Mars in our lifetime. The survey of 2,000 Brits also found that almost 1 in 4 (24%) would even consider a one-way ticket to Mars.

The most common reason for wanting to move to Mars was Earth getting overcrowded (31.3%) followed by pure adventure (31.1%), with global warming and environmental issues a close third.

As plans for Mars habitation gather significant momentum thanks to the likes of Elon Musk’s SpaceX programme, 16% of those surveyed believe humans will live on the red planet by 2040.

Thrilling adventure-drama MARS tells the story of the first manned mission to the red planet in 2033 and our attempts to build a permanent settlement. This exhilarating space odyssey is interwoven with present day documentary with space visionaries such as Elon Musk and Neil deGrasse Tyson explaining the science behind the drama, and how modern-day pioneers and technology will make the habitation of Mars a reality.

Built by Cardiff company Wild Creations, the Mars show home depicts a dome-like structure mined from the regolith (Martian soil), combined with recycled spacecraft parts, including a double air-locked entrance, all designed to protect the early settlers from Mars’ unforgiving atmosphere.

The exhibit contains a clear ‘slice-through’ section where visitors can peak inside at the living quarters, including food, botany, exercise equipment, a working area, 3D printer, drone and virtual reality equipment. A graphic also brings to life an underground section, which will be a common characteristic of Mars habitats.

Stephen Petranek, who attended the launch of the show home said: “It’s been fantastic to see the Mars show home come to life at this great venue, the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

“Very early into our colonisation of the red planet, as soon as the late 2030s, we will use bricks made from the regolith, or Martian soil, to build our homes, along with recycled spaceship parts providing a protective barrier from the harsh atmosphere, freezing temperatures and radiation of a planet very different to our own.

“The show home is a fascinating companion piece to the epic new six-part global event series, Mars, on National Geographic, and we hope that those who visit and interact with the habitat are inspired to watch this defining piece of television storytelling from Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.”

Dr. Marek Kukula, Royal Observatory Greenwich Public Astronomer said: “There’s a long history of observing and studying Mars here at the Royal Observatory so it’s tremendously exciting to unveil the first Martian show home here in Greenwich and get a glimpse of what life might be like for the first people to visit the Red Planet. It’s amazing to live at a time when space agencies and private companies are seriously contemplating sending humans to Mars – science fiction is on the verge of turning into science fact and it’s exciting to think that a young visitor to the show home here in Greenwich might turn out to be the first human to actually set foot on Mars in the not so distant future.”

Elon Musk, who features in MARS, has announced plans to send the first shipment of humans to Mars by 2024. He recently stated: “History is going to bifurcate along two directions: one path is we stay on Earth forever and then there will be some eventual extinction (…) the alternative is to become a spacefaring civilisation and a multi-planetary species.”

Survey results at a glance
Of the 2,000 Brits surveyed in late October 2016:

· 30% said they would consider living on Mars

· 24% said they would definitely consider living on Mars even if it was a one-way ticket with no prospect of returning to Earth

· 16% think humans will live on Mars by the year 2040

· The main reasons for wanting to live on Mars included:

o Earth is getting overcrowded (31.3%)

o Pure adventure/curiosity (31.1%)

o Global warming/environmental issues (28%)

o Interest in space (22%)

o Creating history (22%)

· Respondents (answering all that applied) said the main things that would put people off living on Mars included:

o Risk of death (47%)

o The 7-9 month journey (46%)

o The unknown (46%)

o Missing family members (45%)

o The cost (36%)

MARS premieres on National Geographic on Sunday 13th November at 9pm.

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