MIT Media LAB: Moon Village Reference Masterplan and Habitat Design
This paper presents a holistic approach to planning of a lunar development, centering on the need for habitation systems, designed as adaptive space environments to enable versatile surface operations.
The concept of an international “Moon Village” introduced by the Director General of ESA, Jan Wörner, has been a catalyst for renewed interest in developing a permanent settlement on the Moon. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is investigating together with the European Space Agency and faculty from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concepts for the first permanent human settlement on the lunar surface. The European Space Agency is contributing expertise from their research facilities including ESTEC, the European Astronaut Centre, and ESA HQ. This collaboration is strengthened by key input by faculty from the Aerospace Engineering Department at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including an Astronaut with spaceflight experience. This collaboration aims to demonstrate the potential of an international private-public partnership to advance human space exploration through cross-disciplinary cooperation. The paper presents a holistic approach to planning of a lunar development, centering on the need for habitation systems, designed as adaptive space environments to enable versatile surface operations. The designed multi-functional structural concepts are optimized for performance, safety, and utility, leverage emerging technologies including a combination of structural pressurized vessels, regolith structures for radiation shielding, and adaptive infrastructure planning. Located on the south pole near the “peaks of eternal light”, the development maximizes In-Situ Resource Utilization. Phasing strategies are explored for evaluating the evolutionary steps of the settlement to harness future ISRU-based construction activities.