Origami-inspired lunar shelter promises comfy moon living!

The LUNARK folding moon pod is set to be the coziest spot for future moon dwellers
The LUNARK is capable of being folded into an ultra compact shape—perfect for long distance space travel. What does it look like expanded? Read on! (©SAGA)

Excitement has been building over at NASA as they prepare for a 2024 lunar mission called Artemis III. This will be the first moon landing in over 50 years and will mark the beginning of larger plans for NASA, including establishing a lunar base camp. NASA imagines that they will create a space for 3 to 4 astronauts to comfortably stay for months at a time.

Even though we’re still a long way away from this vision, scientists and designers are beginning to seriously think about what life on the Moon would look like.

Where will people sleep? How will we protect people from the extreme temperatures and lack of oxygen? How can we make it comfortable for them? How will living on the Moon impact mental health?

The Danish space architecture studio SAGA thinks they might have the answers. Introducing … the LUNARK.

Luxurious Lunar Living

Not bad! A peek inside the cozy confines of the LUNARK. (©SAGA)

Inside the shelter, carefully designed walls divide the space into an airlock, comfy sleeping space, and living quarters so the moon-dwellers can have their privacy. Along the sides, solar-powered panels mimic the natural light cycles on Earth, so you can experience the light of a sunrise and sunset from safe inside the pod.

On long space missions, a healthy day/night cycle is crucial for getting a good sleep and for keeping mentally healthy!

Moon Ready?

All set up! SAGA spent a year designing and building the LUNARK habitat: a collapsable moon shelter inspired by origami (folding paper) that can expand to 750 times its original size. (©SAGA)

To test out their shelter, the founders of SAGA travelled to the most similar environment to the Moon that they could find on Earth: the Arctic Circle. Specifically, Moruisaq, Greenland. There, the designers endured -30ºC weather, harsh winds, and total isolation, similar to what you might find on the Moon.

Even though the Arctic is the closest comparison we have, the Moon is much more hostile than any place on Earth. It has no natural resources, no atmosphere, extreme temperatures, and cosmic radiation from the Sun. (Although, we doubt that the Moon also has any hungry polar bears, so at least you’re safe from those!)

Don’t pack your bags just yet, since we still have a long road ahead of us before we’re living on the Moon. But technology like the LUNARK could help us when the time comes.

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