Could you imagine what life might be like if you lived on the moon? Well, in architecture there has been a rising trend of firms testing the lunar waters, experimenting if we could in fact live on our moon. HEKKTA investigates whether this is simply creative indulgence or whether this is a viable option for our future.
SOM and other companies such as the European Space Agency (ESA) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have teamed up together to design a permament community on the moon, completely self-sufficient.
“The project presents a completely new challenge for the field of architectural design”Colin Koop, SOM design partner
Challenges like no breathable air, no gravity and no way of harbouring life are not easily overcome either, but together they have created a symbiotic community which operates in the most baron of places.
Recent discoveries found that the moon did have water on it’s surface, which is located in shadowed depressions near the South Pole as ice deposits.
The settlement would based around the water deposits, which was planned for the rim of Shackleton Crater, near to the moon’s South Pole, which receives continuous daylight throughout the lunar year.
Harnessing the power of the sun, the community would be able to get electricity through solar power, and instead of your normal brick house, the settlement would be a collection of inflatable pods.
The pressurised pods would be the human dweller’s safehouse, with it’s outer shell protecting inhabitants from dust, rock, radiation and extreme temperatures.
Housing workspaces, residences, environmental control and life support systems, the pods can even expand to cope with an increasing population in the community.
Other plans have been developed such as an in-situ resource utilisation (ISRU), a term developed by NASA for generating products using the nearby natural resources.
For SOM, this provides a very new challenge to their typical architectural escapades.
“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.”
As masterplanner, they oversaw the architecture, engineering, urban planning, and sustainable design of the Moon Village, as they have called it.
With NASA keen to, “extend human presence deeper into space and to the moon for sustainable long- term exploration and utilisation.”, space exploration and potential colonisation is certainly a hot topic at the moment.
Foster + Partners have explored the possibilities of 3D printed buildings on the moon, and Elon Musk’s branch SpaceX is attempting to allow humans to live on Mars.
Is this purely science fiction though?
A competition for architects and designers, Moontopia, challenged them to visualise life on the moon, and the results did little to change the perception of the idea as a fanatical dream of astronomers and multi-billionaires.
The winning project was ‘Test Lab’, which involved the gradual colonisation of the moon through 3D printing and self assembly.
The carbon-fibre structures, based on origami, would be assembled by astronauts in the projects initial stages, with the chance for space tourism as the colony becomes more established.
Other ideas included a Platinum City by Sean Thomas Allen, a ‘post-human’ settlement for mining, and a great big structure attached to the moon in Ryan Tung Wai Yin, Ho Wing Tsit Teresina, Joshua Ho’s Upside Down.
Special mention must go to Womb, which envisions humans living in little bubbles floating from place to place, with the moon being a place of contemplation and sanctuary from the materialistic planet Earth. The snowflake generation can be shipped off to a life of blissful sullen serenity.
One of HEKKTA’s biggest gripes with space exploration is the apparent abandonment of issues on our own planet.
Instead of designing communities on a moon with no air, no real resources and no life, why not focusing on solving the current problems here on Earth?
Life on the moon is certainly many years away, and hopefully it will never become a necessity, but rather remain another billionaire indulgence.
However, you never know; we certainly have the technology to make such science fiction a reality. That could be you in the funny space suit walking over the lunar surface gazing back at your former home.
Let’s just hope it never gets to that.