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Mars: Designing for the Red Planet

Join leading designers, scientists, engineers, theorists and innovators for a half-day symposium exploring the challenges of designing for Mars, in collaboration with Imperial College London.

What to expect

Whilst humanity has been gazing at Mars for centuries, today human habitation of the planet is becoming a near-future possibility. But with an average temperature of -63˚C, low gravity that degrades bone, extreme radiation and the absence of oxygen, designing for the red-planet creates un-precedented challenges at the limits of human habitability. Creating zero waste-streams, closed-loop survival systems, and social spaces in extreme conditions are just a few of the ways every aspect of life on Mars will need to be re-imagined and re-designed.

In this one-day symposium, leading designers, scientists, engineers, theorists and innovators will explore how human and planet-centred design are playing a role in the greatest 21st century space challenge, and the lessons we can learn for design here on Earth.

Participants will also have access to the Design Museum’s current exhibition Moving to Mars, as a part of the symposium. Following the conference, participants are also invited to join the RAEBURN Late in the museum’s atrium.

Mars: Designing for the Red Planet is developed in partnership with Imperial College London.

Booking information

Adult: £25
Student/concession: £15
Members: £20


Dr. Jonathan Eastwood

Dr. Jonathan Eastwood is director of the Imperial Space Lab network of excellence, and a senior lecturer in Physics in the space and atmospheric physics group. His primary research interest is space weather and how it affects modern society, and which also represents a major challenge to one day living and working on Mars.

Anna Talvi

Anna Talvi is a microgravity-wear designer working on how to keep astronauts fit and healthy when they are living in space for longer periods of time. Her work is a symbiosis of design, biomedical engineering and material science to tailor better spacesuits and microgravity wear for the astronauts.

Lydia Kallipoliti

Lydia Kallipoliti is an architect, engineer and scholar whose research focuses on the intersections of architecture, technology and environmental politics. She is an Assistant Professor at the Cooper Union in New York and the author of the awarded book The Architecture of Closed Worlds, Or, What is the Power of Shit (2018).

Professor Sanjeev Gupta

Professor Sanjeev Gupta is a geologist and planetary scientist. He explores the archive of sedimentary rocks to replay what ancient landscapes looked like on Earth and Mars. He is a Long Term Planner on NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover mission, where his role is to determine if the Red Planet could ever have been habitable for life. He is heavily involved in the European ExoMars rover mission and the NASA Mars 2020 mission.

Related exhibition

Moving to Mars

Is the journey to the Red Planet one of the great challenges of our time? Through immersive recreations and new commissions, discover how every detail of this extraordinary mission must be designed.