Tech by VICE

This Guy Is Building a Sustainable Martian Habitat in His Backyard

Matt Damon ain’t got shit on Jeff Raymond and his Martian homestead.

by Daniel Oberhaus
Feb 28 2017, 2:00pm

Early last year, Jeff Raymond was hit with an epiphany. Despite enjoying the benefits of agricultural developments, he and his wife came to realize they weren't doing anything to contribute to sustainable agriculture themselves. And so, after a year of digging and building in the backyard of his Washington home, the Real Martian Homestead was born.

"We're here to help bring sustainable food and energy to our community," Raymond said in an introductory video to the project. "This facility is a result of us trying to accomplish that mission."

Over the course of the last year, Raymond and his partner used their free time to build their first Mars Habitat, which is essentially a giant solar-powered greenhouse. Their goal is to eventually incorporate automation into the greenhouse to make it a self-sustaining system. But if the goal is to bring sustainable agriculture to their local community, however, what does Mars have to do with it?

"This system will replicate exactly what people need on Mars," Raymond said. "So while Musk is working on getting us there, we're working on staying alive once we get there."

Unlike Musk, however, Raymond and his wife are taking whoever wants to come along with them on their adventure. The entire project was self-funded and is partially sustained through Patreon donations, but even if you don't have the cash to contribute to the project, you can follow along as they live blog their (mis)-adventures in creating a Martian habitat, which they're framing as a recreation of The Martian.

This includes in-depth looks at everything from farming sustainable trout in aquaponics systems to whether a leaf blower can be used to clear snow from solar panels, some of which is knowledge that Raymond gleaned during his time as an Air Force engineer and some that he has taught himself along the way. In this sense, the project is truly community oriented, insofar as viewers often provide advice or tips for Raymond's Martian habitat.

"Our story at the Real Martian will not only teach us what we need to accomplish our goal on Earth, but it will also help teach all of those of you out there who are trying to go to Mars some valuable lessons," Raymond said.

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