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i - MARS

Indian Mars Analogue Research Station (i-MARS)

i-Mars is a program by Mars HomeBase Organization in India to develop Mars analog Research Stations in India. Many such stations are built by researchers in other countries to explore and understand challenges involved in manned settlement on Mars. 

A Mars analog station serves as one of the pivotal tools in the quest for understanding and preparing for Martian exploration missions. Several research stations have been established, existing, or proposed with the specific purpose of simulating the physical and psychological challenges that astronauts would encounter during a real Martian mission. These habitats play a crucial role in studying and refining the equipment and techniques required to analyze the Martian surface effectively. Moreover, they offer a controlled environment for volunteer inhabitants, replicating the isolation and confinement experienced during extended space missions. This unique setting enables scientists to delve into the medical and psychosocial impacts of prolonged space travel, providing invaluable insights for future crewed missions to Mars. Mars HomeBase is attempting to build first such analog station in the country named i-MARS ARYA so that habitat technologies and solutions developed by the organization can be put to test in Mars like environment, providing useful data on efficacy, usefulness.

Many of these Mars analog habitats are purposely constructed to align with comprehensive Mars analogs, as found in the List of Mars analogs. However, some existing natural locations are also highly regarded as potential Mars analogs due to their resemblance to certain Martian conditions. As humanity prepares for the ultimate goal of sending humans to Mars, these analog habitats play a crucial role in our preparations.

In human Mars missions, crewed habitats are an essential component, offering a base of operations and living space for astronauts during their exploration and research on the Red Planet. As we look ahead, terraforming represent alternative approaches, but the significance of Mars analog habitats in advancing our knowledge and readiness cannot be understated. These habitats are the testing grounds where we hone our skills, develop cutting-edge technologies, and grasp a deeper understanding of the challenges and possibilities that await us on our journey to Mars.

These stations cane be used by both academia and industry to test concepts, solutions and processes for exploration on Mars. Currently, there are three Mars Analogue Research Stations, one each USA, Canada and Australia

FMARS- Flashline MARS station

The Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) stands as a pioneering achievement by the Mars Society, USA, serving as the first Mars Analogue Research Station. Strategically situated on Devon Island, a polar desert that remarkably resembles the Martian environment, this station lies approximately 165 km (103 mi) northeast of the hamlet of Resolute in Nunavut, Canada. The focal point of the station is its iconic habitat, affectionately known as “the Hab,” a towering 7.7-meter (25 ft) cylindrical structure with a diameter of 8.3 meters (27 ft), thoughtfully designed to serve as the living quarters during simulations.

The FMARS project required a total investment of around 1.7 million US dollars, a testament to the commitment and dedication of the Mars Society towards pushing the boundaries of space exploration. Remarkably, even after two decades since its inception, the station continues to be operational, a testament to its durability and innovative engineering. By closely emulating the challenging Martian environment, the station serves as a crucial platform for testing equipment, technology, and human adaptability. 

Mars Desert Research Station

The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) stands as the world’s largest and most active Mars surface simulation facility. Situated near Hanksville, Utah, USA, the MDRS campus encompasses a diverse array of structures, each designed to emulate the conditions and challenges of living and conducting research on Mars.

Central to the campus is the two-story habitat, known as the Hab, providing essential living quarters for the crew during their simulation (sim) missions. Adjacent to this, the GreenHab, a greenhouse facility, enables the cultivation of plants, mimicking the potential for sustainable agriculture on the Red Planet.

For astronomical endeavors, the Musk Observatory and the robotic observatory open up cosmic exploration possibilities during the simulated missions. On the engineering front, the RAM (Robotics and Aerospace Mechanics) pod facilitates research and development of technologies crucial for Martian missions. 

Notably, the MDRS boasts a cutting-edge Science Dome, which serves as a hub for scientific research and data analysis, reinforcing the station’s commitment to advancing knowledge about the challenges and opportunities of a Martian habitat.

Simulated tunnels interconnect all buildings except the robotic observatory, granting crews the convenience of traveling between structures without needing a spacesuit, even while fully immersed in their simulated Martian environment.

Remarkably, the MDRS remains actively operational, continuously pushing the boundaries of human understanding and preparedness for future Martian exploration and colonization missions.

Euro M-A-R-S Station

The Euro MARS station stands out from its counterparts, FMARS and MDRS, due to its innovative three-deck layout, carefully crafted to accommodate the needs of a 6-person crew. On the uppermost deck, crew members will find comfortable sleeping quarters alongside ample storage space for on-board systems and any additional equipment. The mid-deck is thoughtfully equipped with essential amenities, including a dedicated communications center doubling as a solar storm shelter, a galley for meals, an exercise area to maintain physical health, storage bins, and a spacious living and working area. Hygiene facilities are also provided to ensure the crew’s well-being during their stay. As we descend to the lower deck, two micro laboratories await scientific exploration, complemented by a main repair and medical treatment area. For spacewalks and extravehicular activities (EVAs), the station features two airlocks and an EVA prep area for seamless transitions into the vastness of space.

What sets the European unit apart is its forward-thinking design, intentionally crafted for expansion and adaptability. As new equipment and technology, such as advanced water recycling systems, emerge, they can be seamlessly integrated into the station to enhance its capabilities. However, it’s important to note that while the station has been meticulously planned, it has not been completed as of today. 


The i-MARS initiative  undertaken by the Mars HomeBase Organization, aimed at the creation and advancement of Mars analog Research Stations within the diverse terrain of India. Diverging from the established precedents set by analogous stations in the United States and Canada, Mars HomeBase adopts a distinct approach. The project envisions a series of successive iterations of these stations, meticulously tailored to accommodate the potential of cutting-edge vehicles such as SpaceX’s Starship and Blue Origin’s rockets.

Central to this innovative framework is the prioritization of in-situ construction methodologies, as well as the strategic focus on expansion, ongoing maintenance, and overarching sustainability. As the groundwork for funding and logistical considerations reaches its culmination, a dedicated portal will be established to meticulously document and archive the multifaceted activities and milestones achieved through the i-MARS program. 


 The I-MARS program comprises two integral components: 
  1. Survivability
  2. Exploration

 These two aspects are inherently interdependent; survival on Mars necessitates exploration to discover crucial resources like minerals, water, and energy. Simultaneously, successful exploration relies on the ability to survive in the harsh Martian environment. The essence of I-MARS program lies in recognizing that living on Mars hinges on exploration, and exploring Mars hinges on ensuring survival. Therefore, the program initiates with two distinct yet interconnected domains, each with its own focus. One domain centers on Exploration, unrestricted by habitat development concerns. This approach allows for the optimal design of habitats tailored to Mars’ unique conditions. Meanwhile, the other domain concentrates on Habitat (Survivability), without the limitations of exploration. Here, the focus is on creating the best possible habitat to endure the challenging Martian environment. Through this method, the I-MARS program systematically refines and perfects each domain independently.

Merging of technologies

As the solutions for both domains take shape, a composite solution that incorporates the best of both worlds can be synthesized. This iterative approach mirrors the software development practices commonly employed in industries, ensuring a comprehensive and well-rounded outcome.

Diverging from other Mars analogue research stations in America, Australia, or Europe, the Mars HomeBase employs a distinct approach with the following unique characteristics:

The Mars HomeBase encompasses multiple Analogue Stations, starting with the first one, I-MARS ARYA. 

 Unlike traditional all-in-one stations, each I-MARS station focuses on a specific area of research and mission activity, honing technology related to that domain.  Mars HomeBase approach is quite different in following ways

i-Mars ARYA - Key differences!

  • There will be many Analogue Stations, first I- MARS Station being named I-MARS ARYA.
  • I-MARS is not all in one station. A particular area of research is chosen and mission activity is performed in that area to understand and enhance technology. For example, I-MARS ARYA, the first planned Analogue station is focused on interior optimization, intelligent storage management, survivability inside the habitat. Exploration work is not considered in this analogue station.
  • Unlike other Analogue stations, I-MARS stations will continue to evolve, modified or re built through iterations to incorporate lessons learned from previous analogue missions. I-MARS stations are designed to evolve continually through modifications and rebuilds based on the valuable insights gained from previous analogue missions. This dynamic adaptability ensures constant improvement and innovation within the program.
  • The I-MARS program’s unique and forward-thinking approach sets it apart from existing Mars analogue research stations, promising greater advancements in both exploration and habitation technologies as we progress towards our ultimate goal of establishing a sustainable human presence on Mars. 

Many Iterations

Not just one, but many stations built regularly based on experience gained in previous analogue stations. Each i-Mars is a learning tool itself!

Size matches rocket capabilities

Dimensions and mass match the available loading capabilities of rockets like SpaceX Starship. Also matches insitu construction techniques to be used on Mars

Expected Cost/ Budget

AROUND 10 CRORE Rupees, excluding land and transportation. The i-Mars ARYA will be located in Bangalore, on Ramanagara Bidadi area.

Would your institution be interested in participating in the i-MARS program?

Be part of efforts by humanity to develop technologies needed to survive and colonize Mars.