For travelers seeking the ultimate escape — we’re talking an interplanetary getaway — from the sea of humanity here on Earth, it’s going to be a while. Terraforming Mars is decades away at least and NASA still hasn’t even figured out a way to get us there safely. Until then, the next best thing might be Tera, a luxury habitat situated in one of the most un-Martian destinations on the planet. The best part: Space-loving travelers can pre-book a weekend stay right now.
Tera is a futuristic, eco-conscious, luxury house on the banks of the Hudson River in upstate New York. However, this is no ordinary vacation home. It’s the next iteration of a high-concept, experimental living space designed by AI SpaceFactory. That original design, dubbed Marsha, won NASA’s Centennial Challenge earlier this year. The competition tasked some of the world’s greatest architectural and design minds with creating a sustainable, 3D-printed habitat suitable for life on other planets. To springboard funding for the next generation of the design, the company launched an Indiegogo project to open Tera for nightly, B&B-style stays beginning next year.
From the outside, it’s clear that this isn’t a typical cabin in the woods. Unlike traditional concrete or wooden fabrication, Tera relies on a 3D-printed biopolymer of corn, sugar, and basalt to form much of its structure. The curving, asymmetrical brown cylinder with more than a dozen diamond-shaped windows blends seamlessly into its surroundings. It’s a unique design that appears to pull inspiration equally from insect hives, ultra-modern treehouses, and Star Wars.
Inside, the curved ground floor houses a full bathroom with shower, a food prep area, and a living room with built-in seating that seamlessly flows into an outdoor terrace overlooking acres of pristine forest surrounding the Hudson River. A layered wooden staircase sweeps gently upward to a private second floor. Here, the space is fluid, adapting to the needs of its occupants. It can serve as a sleeping loft, a lounge for gathering, or an eating space.
While a stay at Tera sounds like a bucket-list-worthy overnight vacation in its own right, AI SpaceFactory is using future guest stays to understand better how human beings can live and thrive in such a habitat. According to the Indiegogo project page, “Tera is a living laboratory where feedback and operational data will be used to improve future designs for our future Earth and space habitats. Each Tera will build on the last until we achieve highly autonomous structurally performing human-rated habitats.”
As of early July, the Indiegogo project is nearing its modest $30,000 goal. With about a month remaining, it’s likely to more than surpass that mark. Early bird crowdfunders can pre-book a single weeknight stay for as low as $125, while weekend stays are currently running at $250 per night with a minimum two-night stay. Tera is expected to open its doors in March 2020.
If you’re looking to experience the reality of life on Mars without all the bells and whistles of a swanky hotel room, a thru-hike along the epic, otherworldly Jordan Trail might be the next best thing here on Earth.
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