One of the biggest concerns is the amount of energy required to ensure equipment within the habitat can function, and perhaps even to allow for some mobility - an interesting proposal, as it would enable exploration of different regions.
This week I caught sight of an attractive looking design as I browsed the web, a new and promising idea from a Slovakian business, called Nice Architects. The company recently launched its Ecocapsule, a mobile home created for just two adults, which is comfortable, cosy and, above all, self-sustainable. Operating through the use of clean energy thanks to the addition of photovoltaic panels (solar cells) and a wind turbine attached to the outer surface, it looks a bit like a futuristic and shiny supine Easter egg!
Besides energy, the ability to obtain water will be a huge challenge to overcome in the construction of extreme environment habitats. In the case of the Ecocapsule, the solution is based on its rounded form of construction that facilitates the collection of rainwater. This water then supplies the taps, showers and toilets of the Slovak mobile home, and after passing through an additional filtering process, it even provides the drinking water.
Nonetheless, the Slovak Ecocapsule has clearly been designed for our terrestrial environment rather than for far-off planets and would need to undergo numerous modifications to suit the hostile conditions that would be found there. However, it is projects and ideas like this that can provide the basis on which to build future plans for Lunar or Martian homes. It is the multidisciplinary combination of teams of architects, physicists, designers, engineers and space scientists, among others, who will dream up solutions to the obstacles presented by the inhospitable terrains and atmosphere of the celestial bodies in our Universe.
(Based on an article published in Portuguese in the newspaper Diário Popular, Pelotas)