SOM unveils concept for first permanent human lunar habitat

WCN Editorial Team 12 Apr 2019 EUROPE BUILDINGS

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and its partners the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have unveiled the design of Moon Village, the first permanent human settlement on the lunar surface.

The Moon Village concept was presented by ESA for the first full-time human habitat on the lunar surface. ESA and MIT, SOM are responsible for master planning, designing, and engineering of the project.

Design Partner Colin Koop said: “The project presents a completely new challenge for the field of architectural design.

“The Moon Village must be able to sustain human life in an otherwise uninhabitable setting. We have to consider problems that no one would think about on Earth, like radiation protection, pressure differentials, and how to provide breathable air.”

In order to bring compressive approach to the project, ESA will leverage its expertise from the European Astronaut Centre and the European Space Research and Technology Centre.

It will be supported by the faculty from MIT’s Aerospace Engineering Department and SOM’s experience in architecture, engineering, urban planning, and sustainable design.

The Moon Village will be set up on the rim of the Shackleton Crater near the Moon’s South Pole, which receives sunlight throughout the lunar year.

SOM said: "This planning is essential for the first of three envisioned development phases—several critical infrastructural components and habitable structures—that would allow the Village to harness sunlight for energy and set up in situ resource utilization (ISRU) experiments, or the generation of food and other life-sustaining elements using the Moon’s natural resources."

In order to create breathable air, water will be extracted from the permanently shadowed depressions near the South Pole. It will also be used for rocket propellant for transportation and for the support of industrial activities.

The concept also involves four-storey structures, with workspaces, living quarters, and environmental control and life support systems.

It will comprise individual pressurized modules to inflate and expand to increase user space for future growth and program requirements.

The inflatable structures will have resistance to extreme temperatures, projectiles, regolith dust, and solar radiation.

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Image: SOM's Moon Village concept is the first human settlement on the Moon. Photo: © SOM | Slashcube GmbH.

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