Students and young professionals from Europe and Canada design planetary habitats
The MoonMars Habitat Student Design Workshop is underway at ESA/ESTEC – working in the inspiring setting of the Erasmus User Centre, the 30 participants have until the end of the week to study, discuss and design a Moon, Mars or other planetary habitat.
The 30 students selected come from 13 different countries and a broad range of background (including engineering, space science, architecture, industrial design, ergonomics, medicine and psychology).
They have been working since Sunday in the Erasmus User Centre High-Bay, with its Columbus Module and International Space Station mock-ups on display along with a Foton capsule that has actually flown in space – an appropriate location for a group of young space enthusiasts designing tomorrow's bases on distant worlds.
With the sponsorship of ESA's Directorate for Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration as well as the Science Directorate, the MoonMars Working Group has put together an intense one-week programme based around lectures and group work.
The students are divided into five teams, two of which are concentrating on the Moon, two on Mars and one on the Martian moon Phobos. They are focusing on innovative concepts for the design of safe, modular, expendable and ergonomic habitats that will support scientific and exploratory purposes.
All the student teams are engaged in lively discussion, encouraged by their multidisciplinary and multi-national composition. Tutors from the MoonMars Working Group, from industry and ESA are accompanying the students in this demanding exercise.
At the end of the week, students will present their teamwork to a jury composed of ESA staff, industry representatives and external experts. Follow-up work is foreseen so that the most promising concepts can be studied further.
The students' final presentation will take place in the Erasmus Auditorium in ESA/ESTEC, starting at 14:00 on Friday 8 April.
The Workshop is supported by ESA's Aurora Exploration Programme as one of the educational activities for higher education students carried out during its Preparatory Phase.