Solving Space: Deep Space Habitat

This summer, we are exploring how we push human extremes in order to survive and thrive in the harsh environments of space. What will the first deep space habitats look like and how will they sustain life?

In previous posts, we’ve covered what two specific deep space habitats (lunar and Martian) might look like. This week, we are looking at what deep space habitats will need to support human exploration to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

Where will future space explorers live during their long duration spaceflight missions into deep space? What will be required of deep space habitats to sustain this exploration?

It will be critical to reduce our dependence on Earth for supplies as humans push deeper into space and farther away from home. Thus, it will be vital for deep space habitats to maximize efficiency and minimize waste.

NASA is building off the knowledge gained from 20 years of continuous human presence on the International Space Station to develop these habitats. These structures must have the capability to support life, protecting astronauts from the extreme temperatures and radiation they will encounter in deep space.

The concept image below illustrates what a deep space habitat might look like, complete with a plant growth chamber and robot helper.

Six American companies have partnered with NASA to develop deep space habitat prototypes through the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships-2 (NextSTEP-2) Broad Agency Announcement. You can view some of their concepts here.

If you are interested in learning more about deep space habitats, try taking our Space Habitats quiz.

In our education programs, students build their own space habitats and are inspired to pursue STEM careers. The children we teach and inspire today could be among the first humans to walk on the red planet. Click here to learn more about our education programs.

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