Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has released a design for the ‘Moon Village’
The moon village is a concept presented by ESA Director General Jan Woerner for the first full-time human habitat on the lunar surface. ESA and MIT, SOM are master planning, designing, and engineering the settlement.
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.”
Solving these challenges requires cross-disciplinary collaboration, and a completely new way of approaching the space industry’s most complicated problems.
ESA is providing a range of expertise from the European Astronaut Centre and the European Space Research and Technology Centre. This experience is coupled with faculty from MIT’s Aerospace Engineering Department and SOM’s experience in architecture, engineering, urban planning, and sustainable design to bring a holistic approach to the project.
The master plan envisions the Moon Village on the rim of Shackleton Crater near the South Pole, which receives near continuous daylight throughout the lunar year. 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 utilisation (ISRU) experiments, or the generation of food and other life-sustaining elements using the Moon’s natural resources.
The Moon Village is an open, multi-partner concept that fits into ESA’s reflection on future exploration beyond 2050.