Research & Education

Apr 1, 2017

MOONTOPIA - HEAD ON THE MOON

Almost fifty years after the success of Apollo 11, the first time a man walked on the Moon, the Space Race has only started. The 21st century, is bringing new horizons to the space conquest, such as Man has always dreamed.

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And even more concepts are added to the subject every day. Recently, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), presented new findings over seven exoplanets in orbit around a star, much like our sun. Scientists believe they all the ideal conditions in order to find water in each one of them and, thus, bear life as we know it.

But, for now, all the attention is focused on the Moon. The small Earth satellite was thoroughly explored between the years 1969 and 1972. Since 1972, however, no man as landed or walked on the Moon again.

Last year the Buckminster Fuller Institute, in Brooklyn, New York, United States, promoted a competition open to architects, designers and academics, in order to seek innovative ideas to create a self-sufficient community of humans on the Moon.

According to the brief: "this time, however, we are tired of just walking… what we want is to inhabit".

The contest came up with five interesting visions for lunar architecture.

TestLab

The main idea of the wining project, by Monika Lipinska, Laura Nadine Olivier and Inci Lize Ogun, is to colonize the satellite gradually, through processes of 3D printing and self assembly. The carbon fibre structures are based on Origami, and they would be assembled by astronauts in the initial stages, providing the chance for space tourism as the colony stabilizes. It would include several protective layers in order to create sustainable conditions. It looks a bit thick, though, so it would not be expected much of the view from inside.

Momentum Virium

Coming up in second, is the project from Sergio Bianchi, Jonghak Kim, Simone Fracasso and Alejandro Jorge Velazco Ramirez. It looks pretty much like a satellite and the idea that supports it would be to explore the Moon's resources without damaging them. Therefore, rather than building a structure directly on the Moon's surface, the habitat would be tethered to it by a cable. The project submitted to contest, also provided ideas for the future development of the "station".

Modulpia

This project was voted as the people's choice, through an online vote. Designed by Alessandro Giorgi, Cai Feng and Siyuan PanEsteban Analuiza, it shows a modular settlement, based on the Weair-Phelan polyhedron model. It is designed to be an assembly of concrete-based modules. These modules would be made out of sulfuric concrete, using the Moon's own elements, located under the surface, using the Moon's scared landscape as a protection layer for extreme weather conditions and space debris.

Platinum City

Looking very much like some scenario from the movie "Metropolis", from Fritz Lang, the project from Sean Thomas Allen proposes to provide homes for up to 3,000 Moon citizens. It was the first of six honourable mentions in the competition. It would be a settlement for an asteroid mining community, and it would provide all conditions for space tourism as well.

Upside Down

The second honourable mention went to the project designed by Ryan Tung Wai Yin, Ho Wing Tsit Teresina and Joshua Ho. Why is this project of major importance? Because it provides a concept for interplanetary exploration and subsequent colonisation. It would be a passing stage and a test site to gather experience for inhabitants who would then move the Mars colonies.

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