Maharshi Bhattacharya

MMDes Tech

Developing Approaches for a Resilient Modular Habitat to Sustain Life Support Functions in an Extra-Terrestrial Environment

Advised by Jose Luis Garcia del Castillo Lopez
and from the Wyss Insitute: Justin Werfel, Chuck Hoberman

The primary objective of this study is to investigate design approaches for a habitable shell capable of maintaining Earth-like conditions, such as air quality, optimal temperature, and pressure. Of the double layered system thus designed, the inner layer’s modular construction exhibits bistability, efficient independent operability, i.e., maneuvering, deployment, and maintenance, by autonomous robots as well as packing features to minimize payload volume and weight for off-world transportation. This inner habitable shell should be able to withstand pressure differences, indirect projectile impacts, and thermoelastic loads.

Evolution of the form and the influencing factors are discussed in detail as an attempt is made to design volumes that are functional and earth-like in proportions and use. Configurations of the modular units thus developed are investigated to identify optimal spatial arrangements. Interconnection of these modules is addressed by adapting existing NASA standards. Through material explorations, recommendations are made based on documentation of NASA’s usage of materials for various. Devising the sequence of deployment and assembly, helped identify aspects such as emergency workflows and integration of autonomy, that would benefit from further research.

It should be noted that the overall project goals are not so much about providing a specific habitat design but rather to develop approaches so that maintenance and repair operations can be made autonomous. The study does not offer final solutions to issues faced in the establishment of habitable spaces-living quarters, workspaces, farms, and labs-in an extra-terrestrial scenario (lunar or Martian). Instead, it attempts to map a part of an unchartered ecosystem and identify the workflow involved in the setting up of such habitats in deep space. It focuses on discerning nuances that could be analyzed for more insight and offers approaches that could be further streamlined and resolved for efficiency.

Maharshi Bhattacharya, MDes Tech. Array of module iterations showing stress strain analysis, arranged for aesthetic effect.
Maharshi Bhattacharya, MDes Tech. A visualization of the Martian surface with the final proposal of the habitat in the foreground and the logo of the project on the right.
Maharshi Bhattacharya, MDes Tech. An axonometric view of an array of form explorations for the Martian habitat.
Maharshi Bhattacharya, MDes Tech. An axonometric view of a cluster of the hexagonal modules before being linked with the air-lock linkage attachment.
Maharshi Bhattacharya, MDes Tech. A close-up view of the air-lock linkage between hexagonal modules.
Maharshi Bhattacharya, MDes Tech. A view of an array of the hexagonal modules arranged together.