Hi, Reddit!

We’re two Danish architects who’ve designed a Moon Habitat that can unfold like origami and expand its inner volume by 560%! It’s not ready for the Moon yet, but we’ll test it over 3 months in Arctic Greenland.  We will live like astronauts in total isolation, testing the Habitat, our bodies, and our minds. Essentially, we’re testing ways to make extreme isolation + hostile environments livable for humans, not just military-trained astronauts.

The project is completely independent of any big organizations and we are building the Habitat ourselves here in Copenhagen.

The ultimate goal would be to see our habitat on the surface of the Moon since we believe the future of space travel must not be just survival, but instead that space should be full of life.

A lot of the facts about the mission and habitat are on our project website: https://lunark.space/
We also posted an Imgur story a while back with some nice details.

We’d be very interested in hearing your questions and thoughts about psychology in space travel, but feel free to ask anything about the project as well! 

>> PROOF <<

Ask us anything!

Comments: 443 • Responses: 29  • Date: 

sasha19821982366 karma

How will your habitat protect the inhabitants from solar radiation?

Sepreme387 karma

Radiation is always a threat in space. Both from background radiation and in bursts from sources such as the sun. While a requirement for any sustained pressence on the Moon is to have a shelter that is covered under lunar regolith, our Habitat is designed for the earlier phase of humans returning to the Moon as a "short-term" shelter for research and exploration missions similar to NASA's upcomming Artemis misisons in this decade.

jackalsclaw6 karma

A great solution to this is ice http://www.uncubemagazine.com/blog/16245753

Sepreme10 karma

We love that project. It was a great inspiration.

WannaBMonkey201 karma

The biggest challenge with origami style structures to me seems to be the hinges/joints and ensuring they work the one and only time they are ever used. How big a problem is that in reality?

Sepreme234 karma

The problem we solve with origami is the limited volume of a rocket (in our case a shipping container). Our habitat expands by 560%, we believe the extra size has tremendous effect on wellbeing. We have designed flexible seams (compliant joints) and not mechanical joints. Think of the flexible seam as a strong continues skin rather than a hinge.

butterflykn1fe132 karma

For the self-isolation part, do you have any things on the inside "for entertaiment", if so which ones are they?

Sepreme201 karma

Similar to astronauts on the ISS, we're going to have a schedule booked with several activities, including research work, maintenance, and repairs on the Habitat, which will take up the majority of our time.

During our personal spare time we'll be able to use equipment such as laptops and reading tablets along with a large quantity of software, books, movies, games, and other digital material to keep us entertained during the mission.

On the more physical side of things, we've designed the primary living space with folding desks, so it can be converted to an open space where we can exercise and keep in shape.

Fake_William_Shatner55 karma

Would you want to put some cross supports? Not so much as to add strength, but to allow for more use of vertical space and a fun jungle gym for exercise. With the reduced gravity- that would be a blast.

Sepreme19 karma

Yes, actually the Moon version of the Habitat will be taller (rockets are larger than a shipping container), and moving vertically on the Moon is much easier. For Greenland, we just have a pull-up bar. We thought about a hammock as well. We'll see.

wodthing94 karma

Why in the arctic? You could achieve total isolation anywhere without having to deal with extreme weather. Also, there's no weather/atmosphere on the moon, so the "sturdiness" of the habitat to withstand the weather needs to be higher on earth, but essentially leads to the focus of resources/weight put into protection that's less needed in an alternate environment, i.e. wind and moisture protection on earth vs. Gamma ray and airtight habitat protection on the moon.

Sepreme122 karma

We chose the arctic very carefully exactly because of the hostile environment, sunlight, and isolation. We want to simulate the stress that real astronauts experience so we can study our countermeasures. We simulate a mission to the south pole of the Moon, which is almost sunlit. A polar site on Earth is the best fit. You are right about wind loads, not an easy challenge, but no way around it.

Deadmeat55311 karma

But aren't most studies of this sort done in "hot" deserts? For example: Biosphere 2.

Sepreme7 karma

That's one of the problems if you ask us. What happens if you leave without your space suit? not much. But in the arctic it's vital.

DoctorBonkus6 karma

I kunne have taget den til Møn, der kommer aldrig nogle.


Fedt projekt!

Sepreme3 karma

Det er ikke for sent ha!

Ad3quat368 karma

When conducting these tests what problems are you hoping to identify? And how do you vet your participants for psychological stability?

Sepreme149 karma

Firstly, Karl-Johan and I are the only participants/crew.

We are primarily testing two things: the unfolding structure, and the psychological countermeasures, which we have developed. This includes a small vertical garden, an algae bioreactor, and an artificial sky inside the habitat, made of LED panels, where we will simulate a "normal" circadian rhythm.

One of the big challenges of space exploration is the monotony. We believe that changing stimulation is key, and therefore we are also simulating changing weather inside the hab. Some days will be cloudy and colder, some days will be warm with "sunlight".

However a big motivation is an open-ended question, what will we learn by going that we couldn't have known beforehand.

HarryTruman30 karma

Oh, cool. Where can I find out more about this algae bioreactor?

Sepreme4 karma

We will publish more info about it once we have tested it! :)

DevItWithDavid11 karma

This sounds awesome holy shit. Really hope you guys make it work.

Sepreme2 karma

Thanks, so do we!

happygrind63 karma

How much did it cost, and how are you funded? How much say do the funders have in the work you're doing?

Sepreme108 karma

It's hard to say an exact dollar amount. It's a passion project and no one on the project is paid, everyone on the team is doing this because we love it <3 But probably somewhere between a nice car and a big house.

We are doing a crowdfunding campaign, which this project wouldn't be possible without. Furthermore, it's made possible by partnerships and sponsorships (which is a big logistical task in itself). Most materials, equipment, and transport are sponsored.Our architecture studio does smaller tasks on the side, to make sure we can pay rent, etc. We work a lot ;)

We are completely independent, none of the funders have any influence on what we are doing, but we are always open to suggestions. Right now we are running a poll to name the habitat for our Kickstarter backers. There are some great names so far :D

happygrind112 karma

I'm assuming Moon Habitaty McMoon Habitatface has been suggested?

Sepreme7 karma

Not yet, but we assumed that would end up being the name lol

fargerich61 karma

I understand the idea of testing the habitat yourselves to look for improvements and quality of life upgrades but your mindsets have nothing in common with an astronaut. You, as architects understand volumes, function and structure. An astronaut has been carefully chosen basen on mental and physical feats and has undergone tests and training most uf us wouldn't even dream of stepping into.

Why are you guys testing the habitat yourselves? Why during three month? Wouldn't a third party be able to give you more objective feedback by being unbiased?

Project looks great and the concept of origami is a fantastic approach, beet of lucks!

Sepreme64 karma

As u/Alistair_TheAlvarian points out quite succinctly, we indeed wish to design a living space that would enable the "average Joe" to live healthily and be able to carry out their work activities without the intense training astronauts undergo.

While we are designing and constructing the Habitat, most of our research experiments are planned in collaboration with researchers around the world, who are in charge of the specifics of each of their individual experiments, making us objective in that regard.

On the other hand, there has never been an architect to space, and people tend to see solutions to problems in the context of their own profession. By going ourselves and living through the whole experience, we are likely to gain a much more profound insight into solutions than otherwise. And finally, due to the dangerous nature of the mission, we feel obliged to take on the risk personally, until we have a proven and tested technology.

Mimeric33 karma

In what capacity does your Moon Habitat provide a sustainable food and water source?

Sepreme47 karma

We are not self-sustainable with food and water. We bring most of the food we eat. A small caloric amount will come from the small vertical garden and algae bioreactor, but that's more for the novelty of taste, connection with nature, and micronutrients.

We will get water by melting ice on site. We will have to be very efficient with both, using about 5% of an average citizen in Denmark.

Hukummereaka28 karma

Very cool. Are you melting ice just to bypass the logistical hassle of bringing water or does it have particular significance in context of the moon mission?

Sepreme4 karma

Yes, and storing water is difficult in the cold climate!

dondi0123 karma

I never fully unserstood how someone can become like you. I mean, doesnt your profession require wildly different skillsets and knowledge? Dont you have to be maniacally careful with everything you do? How did you arrive at a point of being able of designing this, what is your backround and how did you get to design such things?

Sepreme8 karma

Great question thanks!
Our background is architecture with a passion for technology, then we did an intensive 9-week program at the Space University in Strasbourg. Our best answer is to just start, we are still figuring things out as we go. Then we try to find an expert to consult for each specific problem, and now we are becoming experts ourselves.

Brikandbones12 karma

I'm an assistant architect and I'm curious about the conceptualization of this project, like how did you start going about this sort of research and design? Would honestly love to do this sort of project one day because I feel it actually creates an actual physical object which pushes the design of space in a way that intersects with science whether it works or fails.

Sepreme15 karma

First of all, let me start by saying that if you want to work with something, you should go for it!

Our design process is very much rooted in the problem we're trying to solve. We believe in the concept of tabula rasa, which translates to a "blank slate". In other words, we focus on the environment and problems we're designing for, and suspend all our preconceptions about how things are usually done.

That makes a whole lot of sense in the context of the space industry, which has a long set of rules and practices that have been developed through the decades of human space flight.

On a more practical note, we also strongly believe in using visualisations and making physical mockups (we love 3D printing). It both helps communicate the project much easier and in that process reveals flaws in the design that can be fixed and iterated on.

Telsak12 karma

So what you're saying is that it's bigger on the inside? ;)

Sepreme3 karma

Am i missing a reference here?

stanspaceman8 karma

Sorry to be a contrarian, but what is the point of this?

I don't see this as a contribution to any key milestones on the NASA Human Research Roadmap, nor does it appear to be contributing directly to the development of space fairing human habitats.

This is a funky shape with (hopefully) some insulation. It doesn't hold pressure, scrub co2, provide oxygen, not radiation protecting, etc. If your whole goal was to prove the folding structure capability, then your paper model on the website works just fine.

If you ask me, the real value you could add is with your psychological study, but I don't see much info or research on the engineering/design process, just some nice features you've randomly included. Proving two random dudes (average Joe's) can live in it means nothing unless there is some real data to extrapolate and corroborate results...

What does you flying this to the arctic and cramming yourselves inside it actually prove?

A much larger challenge is fitting the internal structure, beds, tables, ECLSS etc inside your folded structure. If you can't fit those inside the folded structure then you still need another flight/launch to bring them there... Have you worked on that?

Sepreme7 karma

Being critical is not a bad thing! However, you are quite wrong.

Things scale differently, a paper model is not sufficient. It's much more complex once you go up in scale, use different materials, and need to take environmental factors of the arctic into account. Development is in many different phases. before spending the resources of sending something into space, testing on Earth is critical.

Our psychological studies are not being performed just by ourselves. We have some of the world's best extreme environment psychologists doing their own studies on the mission. Including:

Dr. Nathan Smith (University of Manchester)

Dr. Gloria R. Leon (Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota)

Dr. Patrice Rusconi (University of Surrey)

Anders Kjærgaard (Military psychology department - Denmark)

You are missing a point, we also put ourselves in the habitat because an architect has never been to space, we will learn a lot about confined living.

We have designed all elements to fit inside the empty volume when it's compacted, which was clear from early in the development.

SavantTrain8 karma

Can I come with you?

Sepreme7 karma

Its going to be tight!

RandyMarsh7136 karma

What are some of your inspirations for the design of your habitat? Were there any books or movies that led to certain design elements? This is a very cool project, by the way!

Sepreme3 karma

I love this question! We are space nerds, we love the big Sci-Fi movies, Sebastian is especially in love with Ridley Scott's work (bladerunner etc.), but we are very careful to not let that be the driving design factor. We believe Sci-Fi works on Earth, but in space, everything is "Sci-Fi" and earthern stimuli are more important, such as natural materials, plants, and nature, etc.

lastaccountgotlocked5 karma

Will you deliberately bounce around your Arctic base, doing "the astronaut walk", to simulate the lack of gravity?

Sepreme3 karma

Haha, probably not. Wouldn't really simulate Moon gravity by jumping, would look funny though.

mmmmmmBacon123455 karma

You say it expands 560% when unfolded. How does that compare to something like that Bigelowe BEAM that's currently connected to the ISS? Does your module provide a better expansion ratio than their proposed B330?

Sepreme4 karma

Bigelow is awesome! unfortunately, they are not doing very well right now. I think their ISS module expands something like 1100% which is quite impressive, not sure about the B330. But we think we can see some advantages to the rigid panels of origami. We will learn more after Greenland!

Ohhg4 karma

What are your thoughts on episode 4 ‘Lunar Habitat’ of Netflix’s new show Space Force?

Sepreme2 karma

We haven't seen it yet, we are too busy building the habitat. Hopefully, once we get back we can find the time!

jyahssica4 karma

Hi! Architecture student here! Could you tell us about your design process and what was the most difficult aspect of this project that you needed to address?

Sepreme4 karma

Check out my reply to u/Brikandbones further up!

ArthurDied4 karma

Do you find there is a universal form of entertainment for humans? Ideally the future of space travel will feature the best minds from Earth, from all different backgrounds and cultures. Like you said, space could be fun and not just survival, and I think boredom can be a serious morale killer. How do you keep those minds busy and happy for all that time? Games, books, intergalactic television, cooking? Would each individual bring their own form of boredom-busting? Or would you provide some kind of built-in fun?

Sepreme3 karma

I don't think traditional entertainment is the big solution. These bright minds you are referring to probably want to keep on working, problem-solving, developing, researching, etc. But probably also just connecting and being social like we do on Earth. Fall in love. I think that's pretty universal.

I think they should have tools first, boardgames second ;)

NoctaLunais2 karma

Will you be recording any of the event?

Sepreme4 karma


trickatel2 karma

What's your vision for the future of habitats/architecture in space, say 50 years down the line?

Sepreme4 karma

A sustainable presence on the Moon, and a solid presence on Mars. For that, we will require habitats for humans. We hope that it includes a lot of nature and that these habitats will utilize the unique characteristics of its astronomical body. Hopefully, we learn something about how to live better on Earth as well. Earth really is great.