Inside prototype 'human Martian colony' built in desert where scientists trial living on Mars


SCIENTISTS have shared plans to simulate life on Mars in a desert in Argentina.

A new project dubbed Solar54 aims to prepare cosmonauts for future missions to the Red Planet.

The project will be carried out in an Argentine red desert called a hundred kilometers away from the city of La Rioja.

Named the Los Colorados provincial reserve, the landscape is filled with red soil and organic canyons that mimic Mars'.

On the project's website, researchers call the area "one of the places most similar to the red planet on Earth."

Solar54 hopes to provide a space for astronauts and scientists to conduct a number of studies and tests that will help with the colonization of Mars.


"It has the objective of emulating the living conditions, Space Technology laboratories, and Food Production Systems that would be used on the planet Mars," Solar54 project managers said.

The site comprises six domes for accommodation, cooking, crew recreation, plant production, Cubesats satellites, and a general laboratory, per the project's YouTube channel.

Behind the funding for the project is the government of La Rioja and FANIoT – a company that develops IoT technology and virtual reality environments.

“La Rioja province has a historical link to the aerospace industry and Solar54 intends to revitalize this sector of the economy and reposition the country as a provider of aerospace-related products and services," Ayelen Ebene, FanIot Innovation Director, said.

Some of the most important aspects of the project are to create a set of geodesic habitat domes, laboratories, and smart hydrocultures.

These will simulate the conditions and technology of "cultivation and life to be used in future space explorations to the planet Mars," Solar54's website read.

"It will not only be a productive project for the province, but it will also establish a unique place of innovation at a global level," the website continued.

News of the Solar54 project came shortly after Nasa revealed it has partnered up with Epic Games to create a virtual reality Mars metaverse.

The joint project hopes to become a helpful tool for space agencies when planning the first human expedition on the Red Planet.

To get the ball rolling, Nasa partnered with HeroX to launch the MarsXR challenge.


This test tasks developers with creating scenarios that cosmonauts may face while on Mars.

Challenges are divided into five categories: Set Up Camp, Scientific Research, Maintenance, Exploration, and 'Blow Our Minds'.