A multidisciplinary team of architecture students, aerospace engineers and biologists working with the European Space Agency (ESA) has presented a new concept for a lunar habitat based on using resources available on the moon.

Developed for a Moon Village Association competition in 2018, the concept won the runner-up prize.

Angelus Chrysovalantis Alfatzis, a final year student of the architectural engineering program at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, is one of several young researchers based at the European Space Agency’s astronaut centre in Cologne, Germany. ESA’s Spaceship EAC initiative partners with universities and research institutions to investigate moon-related concepts, which could be used for future space missions.

The sustainable lunar habitat, which has been conceptualised by Alfatzis along with other researchers, is based on sourcing or producing materials on the moon, and will support human life as well as protect inhabitants from external conditions such as radiation and tiny meteorites.

Factors such as sunlight, temperature changes, terrain and gravity are also key considerations in designing the moon base.

Alfatzis, who describes his architectural approach as ‘hyperlocal’, explains that the proposed lunar base will use unprocessed lunar soil for the construction.

The idea is based on transporting inflatable modules, each attached with a life support system, to the base of a small crater on the South Polar Region of the moon.

The crater will be gradually filled with lunar soil until the modules are buried, helping shield inhabitants from radiation as well as provide insulation using the stable temperature of the moon’s underground environment.

Image credit: ESA