While on Mars, the Ares III crew will be living in an artificial habitat, or Hab for short. Designed for 31-days of use, the Hab will be filled with an array of supplies sent to the planet on fourteen unmanned supply missions. The unit itself is constructed of durable industrial canvas capable of sheltering its inhabitants from electromagnetic waves to minimize risks from solar radiation exposure.

Boasting 92 m2 of floor space, three lab tables, and two airlocks, this unit is the most advanced habitat servicing NASA today. Its state-of-the-art life support systems are monitored by an automated smart system that actively regulates temperature, oxygen, and water. In addition to features such as the Oxygenator and Water Reclaimer, there are emergency backups for critical systems such as LED lighting and spare oxygen tanks as well as secondary and tertiary communication systems.

The entire Hab is powered via solar panels arranged in a small energy farm outside the unit. Additionally, to minimize human impact on the planet, all waste and excrement is removed through a vacuum-dried waste removal system that is later collected and studied by NASA scientists to examine the effect of long-duration surface operations.

The Hermes

NASA's Hermes interplanetary spacecraft is a once in a generation achievement that marks the beginning of a new scientific era. Featuring dozens of technological advancements, the Hermes is the direct result of a decades-long collaboration between NASA, ROSCOSMOS, ESA, JAXA, ISRO, and the global private sector.

The Hermes was assembled in low Earth orbit with the new SpaceX Station serving as an assembly platform. Individual parts were transported to the station piece by piece. The process was tedious, but the results established a new era of space travel.

Crews take a transport shuttle to and from the ship. From there, the ship's revolutionary propulsion system utilizes ion engines to churn out argon and propel the ship forward in a perfect controlled cruise. While aboard, the ship's rotating gravity drum generates enough artificial gravity to allow the astronauts ease of mobility while protecting them from the effects long-term weightlessness. It also features state of the art plastic shielding to insulate the ship from cosmic radiation. The ship features a powerful reactor that will power all functioning. It also offers an array of life support systems, such as its oxygenator and water reclamation processors.

Despite these innovations, the Hermes has a relatively short lifespan. It is currently commissioned for five missions to and from Mars, and the rigors of travel are expected to render the ship unsafe for additional interplanetary travel.

However, after the completion of Ares V, the Hermes is currently planned to be retooled and recommissioned as a new International Space Station open to astronauts from the world's established and emerging space programs.

The Rover

These tank-sized rovers are capable of maintaining an individual atmosphere complete with CO2 filters and airlock. The vehicle itself is capable of analyzing atmospheric conditions and is built to withstand even the strongest Martian storms. It's powered with a 9000Wh battery and has a top speed of 25 kph.