University Researchers to Help Design Space Habitats

As part of its plans to explore beyond low-Earth orbit, NASA has chosen a duo of university-led space tech research institutes to develop technologies that can sustain humans on the moon and Mars.

The two groups, Habitats Optimized for Missions of Exploration, or HOME, and Resilient ExtraTerrestrial Habitats institute, or RETHi, will design space habitats using resilient and autonomous technologies that will keep these homes operational even when the astronauts aren’t there, NASA said in an April 8 release. 

HOME’s design ideas include emerging technologies to enable resilient, autonomous and self-maintained habitats, while RETHi plans to leverage expertise in civil infrastructure with cutting-edge technology fields including modular and autonomous robotics and hybrid simulation.

“Partnering with universities lets us tap into new expertise, foster innovative ideas, as well as expand the research and development talent base for both aerospace and broader applications,” said Jim Reuter, acting associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. “We’re excited to work with these two new [space tech research institutes] to develop smart habitat technologies for exploration missions on the Moon and Mars.”

Each institute will get up to $15 million over a 5-year period.

Astronaut using an escalator

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