SOM Unveils Vision for First Human Settlement on the Moon

Skidmore Owings and Merrill have unveiled their vision for the "Moon Village", the first permanent human settlement on the Lunar surface. Developed in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the multidisciplinary project will be masterplanned, designed, and engineered by SOM.

© SOM / Slashcube GmbH

The Moon Village revolves around principles of resiliency and self-sufficiency. The masterplan envisions the settlement on the rim of the Shackleton Crater near the Moon's South Pole, which benefits from near-constant daylight throughout the lunar year. Several critical infrastructural components and habitable structures would allow the Village to harness sunlight for energy, conduct experiments, and generate food from the Moon's natural resources. Water from depressions in the South Pole would be extracted to create breathable air and rocket propellant for transportation. In addition, each cluster of modules would be connected to enable seamless mobility across the settlement.

© SOM / Slashcube GmbH

The individual pressurized modules are designed to inflate and expand as demand for their usage grows over time. The structures, ranging between three and four stories, would contain workspaces, living quarters, and environmental control and life support systems. Resistance to extreme temperatures, projectiles, dust, and ration is enhanced by a regolith-based protected shell.

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.
-Colin Koop, Design Partner, SOM

The inclusion of a design firm in the project indicates the need for a new approach to the space industry's most complicated issue: the question of permanent human settlements beyond Earth. For Moon Village, the ESA is providing a diverse range of expertise from the European Astronaut Centre and the European Space Research and Technology Centre. This experience is coupled with the faculty from MIT's Aerospace Engineering Department and SOM's extensive experience in architecture, engineering, urban planning, and sustainable design.

News via: SOM

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About this author
Cite: Niall Patrick Walsh. "SOM Unveils Vision for First Human Settlement on the Moon" 10 Apr 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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