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Mock-ups, prototypes, & team members

by LUNARK Team

We have quite a lot to share, so let’s get right to it!

The Mock-up

Sebastian standing on top of the white mockup habitat in a factory hall

In the past month, we have constructed a static mock-up of the habitat out of MDF and 3D printed ABS joints. We printed a total of 113 joints on our army of CraftBot printers and they performed lovely.

We are using the mock-up habitat to plan the interior layout of the habitat, along with all of the electronics and sensors that will be in it. In parallel, we are getting ready for the final fabrication of the exterior panels and support ring. It’s awesome to finally get the habitat from drawings and model into its full scale.

a whole bunch of black 3d printed joints placed neatly on a table

Folding Mock-up

Another key update is the development of our folding mechanism. We have looked far and wide to figure out the exact material that’s durable, yet flexible enough in the arctic environment. We reached out to Skandinavisk Båndkompagni and met the founder Kim, who was extremely helpful and agreed to provide the necessary expertise and material for the final habitat. The next step is to fold up a larger segment of the habitat.!

Ewool - Clothing & Equipment (key-partner)

Karl-Johan and Sebastian need the most durable and warm clothes for the mission. ewool will provide powerful, heated wearables, warm clothes, and survival equipment for the extreme arctic climate. To save energy in the habitat, it’s possible to keep the crew warm with these wearables during nights when they have retired to their sleeping pods.

Based in Canada (the land of extreme winters), ewool makes the most powerful, simple to use, and dependable heated wearables. They are committed to keeping explorers warm and able to perform in the cold.

Ewool battery and vest controls.

SUNBEAMsystems Solar Energy (key-partner)

Solar panel. No box invisible, flat cable. Increased efficiency 2019, Shadow optimization produces more in partial shadow. Exceptional long life and UV-tolerance.

SUNBEAMsystem has stepped in as our key solar energy partner and will provide solar panels, charge controllers, and batteries for the mission. It's the perfect match for our mission. They even come in all-black - our favorite color ;)

Energy is especially important for LUNARK as we simulate a mission to the LUNAR south pole, where sunlight will be a vital energy source for future moon explorers. We've been looking for the toughest, most efficient solar panels for our habitat and have found the very best.

Partners

Other important partners who have joined our mission are:

  • Garmin, who have provided us with a variety of sensors, a weather station, iridium emergency beacon, and smartwatches for biometrics.
  • Sparkfun, who are supplying most of the electrical components for the habitat’s inner workings.
  • Dali, a Danish speaker producer, who are providing audio hardware to fit within the habitat, and strike the perfect balance between power savings while still emulating a natural soundscape for the crew.
Konstantin, Anthon, Dante, Frederik

Team

As we’re moving towards the goal our team has been growing fast. We are excited to welcome four new smart heads to aid us in our conquest of this big undertaking:

Anthon Schrader: Is assisting with fundraising and Kickstarter campaign.

Frederik Voldbirk: Is a passionate mechanical engineer assisting with structural FEM simulations of the habitat.

Dante Zilliacus: Is a thoughtful industrial designer, who’s developing an Algae Bioreactor which we will bring and test on the mission.

Konstantin Chterev: Is the psychological lead on the project, making sure the right research is being conducted, and the right data is collected on the mission. Nicknamed “Freud” within the team.

Kickstarter

We won't spoil too much yet, but we are launching a Kickstarter campaign soon, where our backers will be able to own something from the mission themselves. Amongst other rewards we have a mission patch, 3D printed scale model and habitat blueprint poster. So stay tuned ;)

We hope you’re as excited as we are. As we finalize the prototyping and experimenting, we’ll soon move into production of the final habitat.

See you around,
The LUNARK Team

Habitat Mark 1

by LUNARK Team

Happy Holidays!

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:

close up of habitat solar panels another close up of habitat solar panels rendering of the whole habitat unfolded

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.

Habitat shape folding animation from above
Habitat shape folding animation from the side

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.

drawing showing the internal of the habitat

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.

Cross section of the side of the habitat Cross section of the top of the habitat

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!

Team photo, left to right: Marius, Filip, Sebastian, Karl-Johan, Simon, Oscar

Regards,
The LUNARK Team

Progress October 2019

by Sebastian

This fall was big for LUNARK! There are a lot of exciting things, so let’s get started...

Our 4 CraftBot printers lining the perimeter of our office space

CraftUnique (key-partner)

We are extremely excited to announce our partnership with CraftBot, the creators of our long-time favorite 3D printer 'CraftBot'. Large parts of the final habitat will be 3D printed, therefore we need an army of 3D printers. CraftUnique is supplying the mission with 11 powerful printers; we have received the first 4 printers which we will test and use for prototyping during the next month.

CraftUnique will also provide the printer which we will bring to Greenland during the mission. We will do a whole separate update on the 3D printing aspect of the habitat and our partnership with CraftUnique in a future newsletter, so stay tuned!

Beta factory image

betaFACTORY (key-partner)

We are also excited to announce that we have officially moved SAGA and the whole LUNARK team to betaFACTORY, a former factory hall and now large workshop, to start developing our full-scale prototype on the same machines we will use for our final habitat. betaFACTORY is the frame for the next phases of our mission, providing space, expertise, and all the necessary equipment to build a habitat strong enough for the extreme Arctic climate.

Statens Kunstfond

We are proud to say that Statens Kunstfond (Danish Arts Foundation), the largest art and architecture foundation in Denmark, has decided to support LUNARK with a grant. This will not just provide the project with financial support, but also shows that they believe in our vision to inspire people by pushing the boundaries of space exploration and habitat design. In the extreme Arctic climate and especially outer space, the spinoffs of the mission can create innovation for the built environment. Innovation includes better-insulated facades, energy-efficient living, and a healthy indoor environment.

Vertical Garden for the habitat

Yasai, a team of vertical farming experts, is designing and building a Vertical Farming Curtain that will be integrated into the habitat. Yasai wants to offer space explorers of the future fresh and nutritious plants to support their well-being, physically and psychologically.

Yasai is testing the system for the habitat right now, and the first plants are sprouting. Soon we will be able to taste the first fresh samples.

“By testing circular systems in space habitats, we can learn more about sustainable methods that we can apply to our giant spaceship called Earth. Let's expand our horizons by growing vertical within the LUNARK Project. We are very happy to be part of this mission and look forward to its progress!” - Yasai

Zero Day Nutrition

We have partnered up with Zero Day Nutrition which will provide all food, nutrients and performance enhancers for the mission.

Zero Day Nutrition is a Research & Development and manufacturing hub located just outside of Houston, TX. It is the ambition of Zero Day Nutra to work both within the private sector to develop next-generation nutritional products while researching applications for space and defense

Karl-Johan and Sebastian, our analogue astronauts will start using the products from mid-November to ensure their bodies react correctly to the food, flavors, and supplements.



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We’ll be sharing updates like this one going forward, so you can follow the project closely as it unfolds. If you have any questions about the project, reach out to us at [email protected].

Lunar Earth

by Calina

how can one study the behavior of an environment that can’t be accessed directly?

From an architectural perspective, a crucial element of design in the initial stages of a project is the site analysis. Through site analysis one can begin to understand the site, and answer questions such as ‘how does it look‘, ‘how does it feel‘ or ‘how does it sound‘.

When the possibility of accessing an environment is limited, the solution is to simulate the original, or locate a close alternative to it. Therefore, Karl and Sebastian have identified a replica of the Lunar environment on Earth. This article will discuss why the arctic is proving to be the most realistic test site for the future Analogue Moon Base.

To set the frame for this mission, we need to understand that the Moon’s environment is more hostile than any place on Earth, encumbering human existence to boundaries hard to perceive and deem acceptable. For this reason, current analogue missions have a major limitation: they do not involve real danger. Psychological studies have been limited by strict ethical guidelines, where the subject could always stop the experiment when the stress exceeded the pre-established norms.

However, in order to properly understand how living on the Moon affects the body and mind, one needs to be exposed to the extreme and unforgiving reality of the mission. Hence, Karl and Sebastian deemed it essential to place their study in the place on Earth that most closely resembles the Moon.

The analogy takes into consideration fundamental factors such as light, temperature and isolation. Looking at these three essential aspects, the extreme reality of the environment placed North of the Arctic Circle most closely resembles the authenticity of the Moon. The landscape is bare and lifeless, the Sun moves away from the circadian rhythm that we, as humans living on Earth are accustomed to, and the need for an appropriate attire is crucial for survival. Nonetheless, the remoteness of the location and confinement within the habitat will also add to the reality of the situation. Dangerous challenges such as reduced mobility and complete isolation will be tackled.

At the moment three different locations in Greenland are considered for the study. These locations are highlighted in blue on the map below.

enter image description here

Therefore, an analogy between Greenland and the planned destination for the first Moon settlements at the South Pole of the Moon, also known as the Peak of Eternal Light, has been established. Greenland provides our team with the tools they need to understand what living in a Lunar base would require. Over the next couple of months, Sebastian and Karl alongside a group of experts will be working on planning, designing and constructing the analogue habitat that will in September 2020 be transported to Greenland and inhabited for 3 months.

The Peak of Eternal Light

by Calina

The objective is set: Saga will explore the Moon through an analogue Habitat called Lunark. As mentioned before, a fundamental element in architectural analysis is understanding the environment in which the architecture will be placed. The Moon is a broad space. Although merely a 50th of Earth’s volume, the Moon still has a surface area of roughly 38 million square meters. With the risk of Earth becoming overly populated, and facing a real threat of self destruction, a number of scientists such as Stephen Hawking believe that there is not much time left for humankind to develop a means for interplanetary colonization. This fact sets the premises for the Lunark mission.

Although the Moon is not home to an ideal environment in which to create a human habitat, this astronomical body is an important element in the equation of interplanetary living. The energy required to send objects from the Moon to space is much less than from Earth. This could allow the Moon to serve as a source of construction materials within cis-lunar space. Rockets launched from the Moon would require less locally produced propellant than rockets launched from Earth.

Having said these we can move on to the next elemental question: where to land on the Moon?

Crucial factors in establishing which areas of the Moon are most suitable for setting up a lunar base are:

  • the presence of light - this being required for solar power
  • water - found on the Moon in the form of ice
  • low temperature fluctuations - as the Moon does not have an atmosphere, the temperature difference can vary as much as 140‎°C

Light

Regarding the presence of light on the Moon’s surface, the situation is similar to that of Earth in the sense that there is a day/night cycle. The difference however is that the lunar day spans over 28 earthling days - 14 days of light followed by 14 days of darkness. This raises a problem not only because temperatures can drop down to -183°C for an extended period of time, but also due to the absence of a crucial energy source: sunlight.

Surviving on the lunar surface will require energy. This will be the foundation for all life support systems. With the Sun absent for a couple of weeks at a time - as is the case of most sites along the lunar surface - having enough energy will be a challenge. Nonetheless, one can argue that nuclear energy is also a plausible resource. Nuclear energy however, raises a series of other issues. Therefore the sun remains one of the more tangible sources of energy on the Moon.

Yet ... is there a spot on the Moon where the Sun never sets?

You see, unlike the Earth’s axis, the axis of the Moon isn’t tilted very much in relation to the plane of its orbit around the Sun. This means that at the poles, the Sun is always close to the horizon. Moreover, the presence of crests of high altitudes in the Moons’ surface around the poles set the perfect premises for such permanently sunlit locations. It was the French astronomer and author Camille Flammarion who, in 1879, romanticized the idea of pics de lumière éternelle – peaks of eternal light [read more about it here] - a name given to these always-sunlit places.

The Moon's Axis

Studies have shown that a specific peak along the rim of the Shackleton Crater, located close to the South Pole of the Moon, is illuminated 94% of the lunar year. By virtually mapping the surface of the poles through a technique called ‘shape from shading‘, ESA was able to build a 3d model of the Moon’s South Pole, hence the existence of this permanently illuminated peak has been studied and analyzed.

The Peak of Eternal Light

Furthermore, while temperature variations anywhere else on the Moon are extreme, the poles have a unique feature: the temperature varies only by 40°C between the lunar night and day. Could we therefore say that this Peak of Eternal Light is a favorable spot for landing and building a permanent lunar base? Well.. there are other factors to take into account - one being water.

Water

It might come as a surprise for most, but the Moon’s surface actually houses water. In 2009, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, went into orbit around the Moon’s poles. The spacecraft then slammed its spent rocket booster into Cabeus Crater, near the South Pole. The impact slung debris into space, which the spacecraft descended through and studied before also hitting the Moon. In the debris resulted after the crash, LCROSS found evidence of water. That, says Brown University’s Ariel Deutsch, is perhaps the strongest direct evidence for the presence of water on, or near, the Moon’s surface [read more about the LCROSS adventure here].

Additionally, the permanently shaded crater walls could act as cold traps for water vapor brought to the Moon by cometary impacts. The water could therefore accumulate as ice in this specific environment, but would evaporate in any other location on the Moon.

We have thus covered light and temperature, and we have covered water - some of the most crucial factors in establishing a more permanent presence on the Moon. And, it seems as if all circumstances are met in this Peak of Eternal Light, doesn’t it?

The question is, however, are we able to find a similar location on Earth? A location with low temperatures, permanent sun, and similar relief so tests of an analogue environment suitable for a future Moon ‘invasion‘ can be made?

The answer to this question will be tackled in some of our next updates.

References:

Drake, N., 2019. Why the moon’s south pole may be the hottest destination in space. NationalGeographic.com [website], 2 May. Available at: < https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/05/why-moons-south-pole-may-be-hottest-space-destination-blue-origins-shackleton-crater/ >

Gilberson, L., 2018. The Peak of Eternal Light: Where the Sun Never Sets on the Moon. Experience Astronomy [blog]2 June. Available at: < https://experienceastronomy.com/the-peak-of-eternal-light-where-the-sun-never-sets-on-the-moon/ >

Sharp, T., 2017. How Big is the Moon?. Space.com [website]. 28 October. Available at: < https://www.space.com/18135-how-big-is-the-moon.html >

Spudis, P. D., 2010. New Light on the Lunar Poles. Airspacemag.com [online magazine], 17 December. Available at: < https://www.airspacemag.com/daily-planet/new-light-on-the-lunar-poles-156800678/#R61wvlSFr3b7hRXp.99 >

Wood, C. A., 2017. Peaks of “Eternal” Light. Sky and Telescope[blog], 24 June. Available at: < https://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/peaks-of-eternal-light/ >

Wait .. but why?

by Calina

Some might believe that we are the middle children of history. We were born too late to explore Earth and too early to explore Space.

But what is actually stopping us from exploring space?

It seems like it was this exact question that reverberated through for Sebastian and Karl’s thoughts. They have known each other for a while but had never spoken about their visions until one day. It was on an early rainy morning when the guys showed up too early for their class visit to a project site. That morning was the start of a joyous quest towards an unknown field, that of extraterrestrial architecture. They would go on exploring this idea during weekly Moon-Meetings, which to others might have seemed a bit odd.

The plot thickened, however, when these two dreamers got the approval to change the site of their thesis proposals, to one that’s a bit out of this world, in literal terms. They had managed to swap the terrestrial coastline for .. MARS!

From an architectural perspective, a crucial element of design in the initial stages of a project is the site analysis. Through site analysis one can begin to understand the site, and answer questions such as how does it look, how does it feel or how does it sound. Only one problem here: how can one analyze a site to which humankind does not have easy access to?

So, how do you study the behavior of an environment that you can’t access directly?

When you can’t have the original, you settle for the closest alternative. Therefore, a solution to this challenge is to identify a replica of the Martian environment on Earth. Easier said than done though. The boys have spent days thinking about how to tackle this first challenge. The answer, however, came from an unexpected source: the movie 'The Martian'. The plot of the film is set to Mars, however, the filming needed to be done on Earth for obvious reasons. Therefore, the analysis for the thesis projects took place in the Wadi Rum Desert, the location on Earth that most closely resembles Mars and where The Martian was filmed. The venture into Wadi Rum held challenges not only of material nature - such as sparse food and water, no communication to the outside world, and no sensory or mental stimuli but also psychological as the boys were taking up this challenge individually.

It was not until now that they have realized the implications of the solitude that explorers face, and those of resuming your own existence to a comprised space in an alien landscape.

enter image description here

This experiment, however, played a major role in their capabilities of understanding the challenges astronauts are faced with when being constricted to their analogue habitats. It is maybe this particular experience that was the key factor in designing their winning proposals for Marstopia and NewSpace2060 architecture competitions - although they like to think their inspiration came from a bar located far in the North of Greenland, a bar that took the role of a guildhall for the few locals and people visiting the village - a meager space when viewed from the outside, but easeful once inside.

Fast-forwarding a couple of months, to when the two young architects were exploring the Negev Desert of Israel while working on a Simulated Mars Habitat. Through a collaboration with D-MARS, Sebastian and Karl had the opportunity of designing an analogue habitat, the habitat being further inhabited by a crew as part of an experiment used to help study the experience of living in a confined space on the hazardous surface of Mars. While the design of the project has been a reward-full and knowledge-full journey the boys could not help but think of the knowledge they would have gained if they would have inhabited the dwelling themselves.

This thought reverberated their realities even long after their return to Copenhagen. As a result, another question has shaped within themselves.

The Moon is the first stop on the way to Mars .. why not explore the challenges of this environment before venturing out to further spaces?

With this thought in mind, the boys resumed working on their daily projects, while storms of thoughts of testing a Moon habitat were still flowing through their mind.

According to Noetic Science, thoughts are in essence energy. Where there is energy, there are magnetic fields. By taking this analogy further we can reach the conclusion that thoughts carry with them the property of attraction? If this theory is indeed valid, then we can conclude that by having a specific thought in mind one should be able to attract it. That might or might not be true, but what is certain is that one day an unexpected phone call was received. Metronome, a Copenhagen based Video Production Company has reached out to our boys to see if they have any interesting projects in development, projects similar to that in Wadi Rum. I’m guessing nothing more needs to be said. This event was a moment of serendipity, the push that Sebastian and Karl needed to turn their thoughts into reality. Therefore, the LUNARK mission was born, whether the boys liked it or not.

Interested in finding out where and how this mission will take place? Stay tuned for our next posts by subscribing to our newsletter.

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