by LUNARK Team
We hope everyone has been enjoying some quiet time with loved ones. Our office hasn’t been quiet, however, as we have been finalizing the design of the habitat. Since we can’t wait to share this with you - here is the LUNARK habitat Mark 1
Would you look at those sexy details? Let’s see it all:
Behold the LUNARK habitat which will keep Sebastian and Karl alive for 3 months in the freezing barren landscape of Greenland. Leveraging the strength of the ancient tradition of origami, the habitat will both satisfy the tight-packed constraints of being sent into space, while being spacious enough when deployed to host 2 humans and all their cargo.
We’ve been through many, many iterations of the design, which started with a simple sheet of paper and has gone through many challenges since. Once you add thickness to your “paper”, the rules of origami become quite constrained, and you’re design options are limited immensely. Unlike paper, the habitat structure would not allow for the contortion and stretching that the thickness introduces, and only via sophisticated parametric design tools and creative ingenuity were we able to conceive a design that allows a fully expandable airtight origami sphere, with no “holes” in the walls.
Not only that, but the origami structure is designed with just the right parameters to make it bi-stable. Why is this important, you may ask? This essentially means that the habitat will be in a resting state both when it’s folded and expanded! It’s some very small adjustments to the parameters needed to not be bi-stable, and at this point, you can think of the structure more like a spring, that will “want” to expand if you don’t hold it locked down.
The habitat structure has two main segments. The steel frame, and the composite Origami vessel. These two segments are attached to each other and allow the Habitat to be both flexible when deploying. and rigid and stable throughout the mission.
The origami vessel is planned to be fabricated out of carbon fiber panels with polymeric foam insulation and flexible TPE for the joint lines. These materials are chosen by prioritizing for strength, durability, and weight. Covering most of the panels are 29m2 of monocrystalline solar cells as part of our 2.5KW solar energy system.
The steel structure carries the entire habitat on three angled legs. Height-adjustable feet at the three support points ensure that the habitat is stable regardless of the site topography, and wind conditions. The legs attach to two inlaid structural rings that stiffen the origami and carry all the loads from the habitat’s interior. This means that the floor, sleeping cabins, etc. aren’t carried by the origami, but attach directly to the structural rings.
We are still in the process of designing the interior, but the overall organization of the internal volume is set. Crew cabins will be in the top and the living quarter with 1½ height ceiling underneath. At the entrance, we have the Airlock and wet-room with a small moon-ready toilet and shower. Beneath the floor is the general storage and utility space along with the heavy batteries and water tank. This helps with overall stability by keeping the center of gravity low.
At the beginning of 2020, our focus lies on turning this design into 2 specific mockups. One of them will be to test the mechanisms and structure of the habitat, and it will be at a smaller scale for convenience, as the joints and structures will still work in the same manner. The other mock will be a simple 1:1 mock with no moving parts. This will be used to test the interior and get a feel of it would be to live in there. 2020 is going to be very exciting...
Stay tuned and happy new year to everyone!
The LUNARK Team