From the guy who sells real estate on the moon to Elon Musk and Newt Gingrich, many men have recently pondered the ability to colonize other planets. Meanwhile, the German firm ZA Architects has proposed its own solution.
Take it away, Dezeen:
"Robots would be flown to Mars to carve out large voids in the basalt bedrock, choosing areas where the rock has formed into distinctive hexagonal columns, which can be removed to create cathedral-like interior spaces. The distinctive, tightly packed stone hexagonal columns, which are also found on earth, are formed where basaltic lava has cooled rapidly. The robots would then weave web-like structures from basalt fibres to create floors within the caves. Basalt fibres, made by extruding molten basalt, are cheaper and more versatile then carbon fibres, and could replace traditional construction materials on Mars."
As Gizmodo points out, this process isn't terribly different from D-Shape, an in-the-works 3D-printer that has the potential to print architectural components from sand and a binding agent. Additionally, the architects write, "Basalt is good material to make a protectional cave on, to produce insulation, and basalt roving, which is stronger than steel." The project description continues: some martian soil could even support agriculture, such as asparagus, and this "possibility of food production will make Martian settlements independent of expensive deliveries from the Earth." As one of the architects tells Dezeen: 10 years from now, humans could be living on Mars. And eating asparagus up there, apparently. Have a look: