In April, 30 students from across Europe will take part in the Habitat Design Workshop to be held in the Erasmus User Centre at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre in the Netherlands. Their aim: to find novel and innovative ways of sustaining human life in space.

ESA’s Directorate of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration, responsible for the Aurora Exploration Programme, and the Science Directorate invite graduates and post-graduates to participate in this exciting nine-day programme of activities, organised by the Moon-Mars Working Group in cooperation with ESA.

The exploration programmes of many nations, including ESA’s Aurora Exploration Programme and the US Vision for Exploration on the robotic and human exploration and settlement of the Moon, Mars and beyond, are showing the way forward. Current plans for Lunar/Martian base development and expanded human exploration of space are expected to come to fruition within the next 20 to 40 years. This means that those who will be involved in this next stage of space exploration are just beginning their careers in the space sector or still studying at school or university.

The Moon-Mars Working Group (MMW) aims to bring together experts in the field of Moon-Mars exploration with the next generation of programme managers, engineers, physicists, biologists, architects etc., who will be working on the human and robotic exploration of the solar system. MMW also acts as a forum and showcase for their visions and concerns. Habitat Design Workshop 2005 is one of the first steps towards this goal.

The Workshop

The workshop will take place from 2-9 April at ESTEC’s Erasmus User Centre and will consist of lectures by experts in the many disciplines involved in the design and development of the human aspect of space missions. The organisation team, ranging from experts in space science to industrial design to architecture, will guide participants through a programme of preparatory work, lectures, discussion sessions and design exercises with the goal of creating design concepts for habitats to be included in human missions to the Moon, Mars and Phobos.

The challenge

The workshop will challenge participants to develop concepts and designs for hybrid and inflatable habitats for the exploration, use and settlement of the solar system. Those selected to take part in the workshop will work in teams, together with other graduates and post-graduates, to learn about habitat design, systems engineering and the space environment for one of the three missions.

For all of the scenarios students will have to take into account possible building methods; inflatable, foldable or pneumatic technologies; new materials; food; life support; in-situ resource utilisation; psychological and sociological aspects; environmental effect on human physiology; as well as whatever insights present themselves during the workshop.

Applications are invited from graduate and post graduates European students, preferably from one of ESA’s Member States.* Undergraduate students with exceptional applications may also be considered.

In order to put their name forward for selection applicants should fill in the application form on the website of the Moon-Mars Workshop. This consists of:

  • a curriculum vitae – maximum one page

  • a ½ page letter of motivation giving the reasons for wanting to attend the workshop and the applicant’s expectations

  • a small portfolio, maximum 3 pages, describing previous work, projects etc.

  • a Letter of Recommendation from a Professor or other referee if the applicant is no longer at university

The selected applicants will receive free accommodation and lunches together with travel expenses up to a maximum of Euro 200. Remember, all applications must be in by 8 March 2005 so check out the MMWG website for more information.

* ESA Member States: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom