As Elon Musk strives for the creation of a permanent human presence on Mars on Mars, Popular Science Monthly, in their March issue from way back in 1954, laid out the steps which man would take as he set about constructing an outpost on the Red Planet. What followed was a scientific report describing:
an amazing scheme that would let a party of 33 set up housekeeping on our neighbor planet.
Proposed Mars base looks like this. The heart-shaped ring captures solar heat to warm living quarters for 33 men in spheres and cylinder. Plane and tractor will run in oxygenless air.
As first step in setting up base, landing party's rocket ship is stripped of nose and wings, and jato units are attached at the end of remaining aluminum-clad cylinder. Steadied by lines, it is up-ended to form hub of base.
Solar Heater, plastic envelope containing six-inch air ducts, is first of extensions to emerge from hub. As compressed air inflates loose folds, it forms a ring 16 feet wide and nearly 150 feet in over-all diameter.
Plastic Shells forming living and working spaces now emerge from other ports of cylinder. Expanded, they form three flattened spheres, each about 32 feet wide and 20 feet high, containing an artificial atmosphere.
Cutaway view of Erected Base shows interior arrangement of central cylinder and spheres. Laboratories, galley and combination dining and recreation room occupy top level; sleeping quarters, next level below. Air lock at ground level is the base's entrance and exit.