Expandable Habitat Technology Demonstration for Lunar and Antarctic Applications 2008-01-2024
NASA's vision for Space Exploration includes a long term human presence on the surface of the moon and missions to Mars. In support of these missions, habitation structures will be developed to support operations in these challenging gravitational environments and maximize safety and comfort to the crew. One class of structures that is under study is expandable structures because of their mass and stowed volume efficiency. These structures follow the natural paradigm of exploration that has been observed for centuries. An expandable technology demonstration unit has been constructed and is being tested in the lunar analog environment of Antarctica, over several years. The habitat has yielded test data regarding transport and deployment, sensor integration, reconfigurability, habitability, performance in harsh environments, radiation shielding and dust mitigation. Data from these tests is being used by NASA to support lunar architecture studies. Performance data from this work is also being studied by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Polar Programs (OPP) to determine if this class of structures can improve mission efficiency in polar exploration.