Building House on the Moon – A Purdue University Research Initiative

Whether you think building a house on the moon is a fantasy or a practical reality, the fact remains that the future of life in space is now a possibility. But how can we achieve it?

RETHi project focuses on resilience, awareness, and robotics

RETHI, or Resilient ExtraTerrestrial Habitats, is a research institute at Purdue University that seeks to design a resiliency and awareness deep space habitat. The institute will incorporate world-leading expertise in deep space habitats and civil infrastructure to develop transformative technologies. These technologies will enable adaptive, self-repair deep space habitats, while retaining their original capabilities. The institute will demonstrate these technologies using a cyber-physical testbed. The testbed will integrate physical models with computational models, demonstrating autonomous corrective, detection, and awareness capabilities.

The institute is a collaborative research partnership between Purdue University, University of Connecticut, and University of Texas San Antonio. The institute is led by Purdue University’s principal investigator Shirley Dyke. In addition to incorporating technology, the institute will bring together experts in hybrid simulation, robotics, advanced technology fields, and civil infrastructure. The institute will develop scalable methods for situational awareness and situational awareness software, as well as techniques for system resilience.

Ariel Ekblaw, founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Space Exploration Initiative, expects structures to bebuilding house on the moon by the early 2030s. This includes fuel-cell powered habitats. The institute will also incorporate a control-theoretic approach to resilience. The goal is to achieve resilience by reducing emergent behaviors and controlling them.

Purdue concept building on the moon

Creating a space station on the moon is a Purdue concept, but it’s not a blueprint. Researchers are trying to blend different aspects into an AI-powered smart habitat that will survive the moon’s harsh conditions.

The Purdue University RETH Institute has been working with NASA to assess the viability of building a home on the Moon and Mars. As part of the Resilient ExtraTerrestrial Habitats (RETHi) project, researchers are testing a concept for building a home on the Moon, studying how to build structures that could withstand damage from meteorites and radiation.

Purdue researchers have also been studying lunar imagery and the feasibility of lava tubes for habitats. They hope to use the data to create a model of a lava tube, which they can test on the Moon or Mars.

In addition to researching the potential for lava tubes as habitats, Purdue researchers have been looking at the practical challenges of a lunar environment. For example, researchers are testing how a dome-shaped building would survive getting pelted by meteoroids.

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