Could ice make a good habitat like an igloo for colonists or as cold storage for fuel? Could the cavern be sealed and then carbon dioxide melted to create pressure inside the cavern to grow plants or to work without a pressurized suit? How thick does the ice have to have a pressure of 14 psi?

What is the mixture of carbon dioxide and water in the Ice? I would also guess there would be pockets of carbon dioxide and/or layers of each depending on the weather and other factors for that year.

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    $\begingroup$ Using a multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator, heater. Remember when I told you to stop mixing irrelevant tech to your questions ? This is a textbook exemple. The underlying technology used to generate heat is irrelevant to your question, is poorly phrased, and just makes it harder to read/understand. $\endgroup$
    – Antzi
    Apr 10, 2019 at 0:34
  • $\begingroup$ You have to understand what an igloo is used for on earth first. It's an improvised shelter that's designed to resist the wind and keep the interior at 0 C (as compared to -20 or however cold it is outside) through the action of human bodies warming the interior. This usage is far removed from what you seem to be thinking of. $\endgroup$
    – Ingolifs
    Apr 10, 2019 at 22:57

2 Answers 2


On most of Mars, the air pressure is ~600 Pa, which means any exposed ice will sublimate. You'd have to seal the ice in with a layer of another material.

Also, if you were to evaporate ice to a pressure of 1 bar, you'd have an atmosphere consisting entirely of water vapor. You'd have continuous rain inside your cavern. The next question would be if humans can even survive inside a pure H2O atmosphere (even if you add the ~10% oxygen we need).

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    $\begingroup$ The temperature of water vapor at 1 bar is about 100 °C, very unhealthy for the astronaut within the habitat. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Apr 10, 2019 at 12:58
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    $\begingroup$ 10 % oxygen only would require a total pressure of about 2 bar. A pure H2O/oxygen atmosphere of that pressure would be lethally hot. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Apr 10, 2019 at 14:45
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not entirely convinced there is more water than carbon dioxide for ice? $\endgroup$
    – Muze
    Apr 10, 2019 at 21:55

It seems to me that it would be extremely ablated by the sandstorms Probably using the native materials would be a good bet. Ice would be a good inner wall material, and plentiful if good dehumidifier devices could extract water from the environment inside. Another thing to consider is location. It seems to me that polar sites would be best for colonization, as well as the canyon.... higher air pressure and protection from wind and the elements.

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    $\begingroup$ Sandstorms on Mars are not very abrasive. $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Apr 10, 2019 at 5:51

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