Swedish architecture students join forces with JSC engineers during outreach program

Johnson Space Center recently welcomed 10 students from Sweden to work on the Space and Terra Architecture & Design (STAR Design) NASA educational outreach program.

The goal of the program is to expand the developmental knowledge of design in extreme environments.

Stina Noren inspects one of the lunar habitat illustrations at the STAR Design display.
Stina Noren inspects one of the lunar habitat illustrations at the STAR Design display.
The participants -- graduate students of architecture and of industrial design from Sweden’s Lund Institute of Technology -- began the STAR Design program at JSC on Feb. 18. They spent their three-week visit working with the Exploration Systems Engineering Office and the Advanced Extravehicular Activity Team.

STAR Design has been supported by NASA and Lund for the past eight years. Larry Toups of the Constellation Program’s Advanced Projects Office has been the program’s student contact since its conception. He gives feedback to the students and reviews their work at the end of their time at JSC.

“Students readjust their assumptions of terrestrial design while researching the lunar environment,” Toups said. “We see some very innovative approaches to some of the issues we deal with in space exploration.”

Each year the program has a fresh focus to remain up-to-date on scientific research and each student group learns from the previous year’s progress. In past years, STAR Design students have studied the space station, low Earth orbit and Mars. The focus of this year’s program is the layout and design of a lunar base. The base would house international crews mining resources that could be utilized on Earth with a timeframe of 2050 or beyond.

“The students actually learn about the complexity of design needed, which translates to formulation of new solutions in their work on other extreme environmental designs after they leave school,” Toups said.

Click for larger imager
JSC's Larry Toups expresses his appreciation to the Lund students for their participation and enthusiasm.
Lund architecture lecturer Christian Wilke accompanied the group again this year. Wilke said that this project will help the students in their future endeavors, even if they choose to work in fields other than science exploration. Some students use the knowledge they gain through STAR Design to further develop thesis ideas.

University of Houston’s College of Architecture works with Lund on STAR Design with a commitment to graduate training and the study of architecture and design in extreme environments. The STAR Design program is coordinated by director Maria Nystrom of Lund and director Larry Bell of the University of Houston.

The program started in 1998 as part of the architectural and design curriculum at the Lund Institute. STAR Design is currently part of a larger space architecture curriculum being used in Cambodia, Sweden, Tanzania and Vietnam.

Natalie Chapa
Johnson Space Center, Houston
(281) 483-9758

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