“What does it take to live on the moon?” That was the question put forward by Sebastian Aristotelis and Karl-Johan Sørensen, the founders of SAGA Space Architects and the analog astronauts behind Lunark, a prototype moon habitat. Designed in collaboration with scientists, engineers and polar experts, Lunark will be tested over three months in northern Greenland as part of the first Arctic-simulated moon mission. In addition to its resilience to extreme temperatures, the habitat will be engineered for a zero-waste ecosystem and will draw power from solar panels.

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people building a full-size pod model with white panels

Currently in the research and prototyping stages, Lunark is scheduled for construction in Denmark over the summer of 2020. The expedition is expected to start in the fall of the same year, when Aristotelis and Sørensen will live in the prototype moon habitat for three months to carry out scientific experiments and evaluate the structural design. All of their research and analyses will be compiled in research papers and presented in a TV documentary.

Related: SOM unveils designs for first-ever human settlement on the moon

person building a pod with white panels
rendering of elevated pod covered in solar panels and sitting on stilts in a desolate landscape

“The ultimate goal is to develop the best future moon habitat,” the duo said. “The experiment will develop and test a radically different moon habitat where architecture helps to counteract monotony, claustrophobia and psychological stress.” The designers have chosen northern Greenland as their testing grounds — and are looking at locations near Thule Air Base — because of the island’s extreme climate, remoteness, barren landscape and absence of normal circadian rhythms. 

aerial rendering of solar-powered pod in snowy landscape
rendering of close-up of solar panels on pod exterior

Inspired by origami, the Lunark habitat will be built from reinforced folding panels to allow for a unique expanding design that saves space during transport and expands by 560% by volume upon final installation. The exterior must be engineered to withstand temperatures of -40 degrees Celsius, wind speeds of 90 kilometers per hour and even polar bear attacks. Solar panels will be installed around the perimeter. In contrast to the tank-like exterior, the interior will attempt to follow the principles of hygge and will be equipped with systems that promote a zero-waste lifestyle. An algae reactor will be placed in the core of the habitat and provide highly nutritious food.

+ SAGA Space Architects

Images via SAGA Space Architects