Better Homes and Martians
NASA Global Climate Change, March 4, 2015
Want to get the most energy-efficiency bang for your buck when building a house? Think about it as if you were designing a mission to Mars.
That’s what Ed Crawley did when he set about building a home for his family in 2009. Of course, he actually was designing a mission to Mars at the time. More precisely, he was analyzing thousands of possible mission designs for sending astronauts to Mars, as well as potential preparatory missions to the Moon.
The need to sort out all those hypothetical space missions led him to develop a computing tool that makes the job more manageable. And that, in turn, led to a spinoff that helps homebuilders find the right balance of energy efficiency and building costs.
Here is how NASA’s efforts to put footprints on Mars could wind up improving your next home.
Crawley is a professor at MIT, specializing in aeronautics, astronautics and engineering systems. In 2009, he served on the Augustine Commission, a panel of 10 experts that President Obama tasked with analyzing the potential of human space exploration. At the same time, he and a team of graduate students were analyzing potential Mars missions directly for NASA.