Breath of Daedalus
The subterranean city Daedalus is carved deep into the chasms of Noctis Labyrinthus. It supports a dense population – of researchers and explorers – and a Martian proto-forest that releases oxygen and moisture into the lower atmosphere. Conceived as a planetary lung, several generations since the first Martian settlers called this city home, the great underground urban ecosystems have become inhabitable terraforming structures.
Natural canyon walls shelter the city from surface radiation and thermal flux. Solar fields, covering the plateaus above, provide power. A ceaseless network of sensors and unmanned gliders monitor the atmosphere and soil that surrounds, reporting changes that hint at the possibility of the first uncovered breath.
On the horizon are the shadows of harvesting towers that stretch high into the sky and burrow deep below the ground. Harvesters of information, they transmit long-range communications, while tapping into subsurface ice deposits that are then melted by harvested solar radiation. The ice melt fills springs that quench the valley’s thirst.
The city is named for Daedalus; architect of Minos’ Labyrinth and father of Icarus, whose wax wings melted after he flew too close to the sun. A city that aspires to new visions of life for humanity, it also cautious us to hold always in mind the unintended and invisible consequences of our dreams.
Finalist, HP Mars Home Planet Rendering Challenge, 2018