Cliff Colony

What are the minimum requirements for sustainable living on Mars? Starting from pre-established knowledge on the physical and engineering requirements of space habitation, this project further explores the design of stimulating environments for physical and mental well-being, to ensure that the human inhabitants of our architecture need not just survive. They must thrive.

An astronaut walking towards the Cliff Colony on mars.


By mapping the surface of Mars, we identified Apollinaris Sulci as the site of the settlement, based on five essential criteria:

  1. Water availability
  2. Below Datum
  3. Equatorial
  4. In situ resources
  5. Landscape/Geological feature
  6. Aesthetic quality
Map of Mars showing areas of interest.

Map of Mars showing areas of interest.

Map of Apollinaris Sulci with the choosen Yardang cliff.

Map of Apollinaris Sulci with the choosen Yardang cliff.


The construction principle behind the cliff colony is three phased:

  1. Autonomous robots carve out the void.
  2. 3D Printing rovers print structures using the carved regolith.
  3. Humans inhabit the space and construct a bamboo farm.
3D Printed forms. Robotic swarm printers print rounded corners and ramps to access upper layers.Carve then print. Soft cliff tuff is carved and used as 3D printed material.Sulfur Concrete. High sulfur contents + decreased gravity makes concrete six times as strong as on concrete on earth.
Elevation of the cliff.

Elevation of the cliff.

Section of first void.Section of second void.


A model of the site in 1:00 was cast in plaster using a mold made of 40 3D printed segments.

A picture of the cliff model. It's surface looks red like the soil of mars.
A different angle of the model.3 people assembling the printed segments of the model.A close up of the model cave entrance.
A plan drawing of the cliff colony.