Above: In the darkness of ‘Imiloa’s planetarium, PISCES Geologist Kyla Defore sheds light on possible solutions for making Mars an affordable destination for future explorers. Photo: Matthew Edison.

How do you inhabit an extremely hazardous environment without breathable air or drinking water? And how do you do it without bringing an entire house with you? These questions were the focus of a talk given by PISCES Geologist Kyla Defore on Nov. 16 for ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center’s Maunakea Skies talk series.

In “Living Off the Martian Land: Solutions for Colonizing Mars,” Kyla explored how costly space travel can be, and how PISCES is researching viable solutions to help establish a permanent human presence on places like Mars.

In particular, she highlighted the resources people can extract from Mars’ seemingly barren surface: oxygen, water, rocket propellant and construction materials for shelter. Included in her talk were these fun facts: NASA’s estimate of a manned mission to Mars: $100 billion + (includes a spacecraft, water, food, habitation, filters, and life support systems).

Kyla also demonstrated the striking similarities between Hawaii’s basalt and Mars regolith, and how Hawaii’s volcanic terrain serve as valuable testing grounds for space exploration missions.