A Wellington artist has grand designs for a real estate project on Mars.
Bronwyn Holloway-Smith is working with Letting Space to design a colony for humans.
"The Pioneer City complex we have designed would be built in the Utopia plains," she said. "There is a crater there that provides a good platform, and the name Utopia works with the ideology I have."
Ms Holloway-Smith has been working on a scale model with fellow architect Rachel Logie to present next month.
Asked what fuelled her idea to colonise Mars, Ms Holloway-Smith said trends in the modern real estate market, plus advances in research such as the Mars Rover mission, spurred her on.
"Companies are selling apartments and vacant lots through showrooms with scale models, or pictures on the internet. People are buying without actually seeing the property in person."
Ms Holloway-Smith said she believed that with Nasa wanting to man a mission to Mars in the next 20 years, a colony being set up was not a question of if, but when.
Her colony would include educational and recreational facilities and plenty of work for residents. Amenities would be geared towards adults during the colony's early years, but would develop to cater for children as the population began to thrive.
"We would take skilled migrants first – doctors, engineers, teachers – and you would have to be fit to survive the long journey there."
Ms Holloway-Smith said she had considered the issue of land ownership on Mars.
"The Outer Space Treaty allows us to use the land on Mars for the colony because nobody can technically own it."
The Extra-Terrestrial Real Estate section of the treaty dictates that "space is the province of all mankind", and that a part of space cannot be claimed by any country,but can, however, be owned by a private organisation.
"The price of rooms and utilities would be set by the company that claims the land and builds the colony," she said. Oxygen could come with the room or be a monthly charge, like electricity.
Technological advances would be the big factor in how soon such a project could be funded.
Ms Holloway-Smith has been using this project as a way to get the public to think about what the future of real estate could be like.
"The project is something I believe will happen in the near future. For the moment it is more a proposal of what our potential real estate sector could offer with continuing trends."
A real estate showroom, Pioneer City, will be opened in June at a venue to be confirmed. There will be an agent ready to answer questions and register public interest or offers.
Letting Space is a programme that seeks to find public spaces for artists to display their work.
To check out the plans for the colony, or to secure your own piece of Mars, visit pioneer-city.com or visit the showroom on weekends from June 18 to July 10.
- The Wellingtonian