'Space Architects' Sebastian Aristotelis and Karl-Johan Sorensen are two Danish designers from the design company SAGA Space Architects who designed the origami-inspired foldable lunar shelter for the off-world explorers of NASA's Artemis lunar mission.

They named the project, "Lunark Habitat," which is a compact portable structure that can be expanded and folded for easy transport. Its exterior consists of strong aluminum frame covered with solar cells, while its interior has a toilet and living quarters complete with desks and shelves perfectly designed for two persons.

Lunark Habitat weighs about 1,700 kilograms and can expand from 2.8 cubic meters to 17 cubic meters. The two Space Architects will test the efficiency of the habitat this fall, living in complete solitude at Arctic Greenland for three months, where the temperature is -30 degree Celsius that is said to replicate the freezing conditions on the moon.

In that way, Karl and Sebastian will not have to pretend because it will feel real, reported by Sputnik News.

Architecture and Space

The Lunark Habitat is powered by solar panels, and can withstand the freezing temperatures of the Arctic. Since it is 3D printed, any parts of the habitat that needs replacement can quickly be reprinted.

Its structure is inspired by the Japanese origami that folds down to about 100 cubic feet and expands using a system of intricate folds.

But the real innovation of the Lunark Habitat is that it is designed to accommodate the psychological needs of the inhabitants which address the big challenge of staying long-term in space.

To alleviate the weariness of doing the same tasks and looking at the same environment every day, Lunark features a weather simulator and a system that replicates the body's natural circadian rhythms.

The Architects work in conjunction with Engineers in creating the habitat. But since they are both trained in different ways, they tackle challenges differently so. The Architects' primary focus is the humans occupying the space, so it is always human-centric.

For example, Aristotelis cited the problems he encountered when designing a habitat for Mars as they try to build habitats focused on recreating Earth-like conditions, one that can fight against local conditions of heavy winds, dust, and a thin atmosphere. He used these conditions in generating power for the Mars habitat, therefore solving short-circuit problems that might occur.

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To Thrive and Not Just Survive

The goal of scientists for future space explorations is to send people who will not only survive in harsh environments but also thrive. It is in their best interest that the explorers' well-being are protected. 

This means that the design should be in sync with how people will cope up with the challenges of living in isolation. One psychological booster being used now is the system of care packages for the astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

The ISS astronauts report that these care packages go a long way as it keeps their spirits up during tough times, remind them of home, and provide them with something they could look forward.

Since the moon does not have weather, and its days and nights last 14 days each, it contributes to the feeling of tedium and frustration. Additionally, maintaining a roughly 24-hour circadian rhythm is essential for psychological stability, so the habitat glows brightly in the morning and dims to a warm pink or orange when it's time to sleep.

"We need variation. We need the cold day to feel the warm day," Aristotelis explained.

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