Architectural Design of a Human-Centered Lunar Geology Lab



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51st International Conference on Environmental Systems


This paper examines factors driving the design of a human-centered geology laboratory on the Moon. In-situ lunar geological research has not been done by humans since the Apollo era, but will be a cornerstone of future lunar research activities. While the International Space Station is the prevailing model for an operational space science laboratory, both the environment and nature of science investigations differ in significant ways on the lunar surface. The operational environment includes pervasive dust, partial gravity, frequent extravehicular activity field work, and challenging thermal, mass, volume, and power constraints. This study explores current best practices for laboratories in space, on Earth, and in analog environments, while taking into account several decades of experience with astromaterials curation from meteorite recovery and robotic sample return missions. Similarly, this study emphasizes the basic tasks of space architecture: typology investigation, structural and systems integration, and understanding crew comfort and performance as key design drivers. As space habitats become longer-duration, increasingly commercialized, and accommodating of a broader diversity of occupants and science objectives, there is a need for future design work to go beyond traditional human factors engineering and emphasize crew performance, comfort, and well-being. A review of space and space analog laboratory architectures and typologies complements heritage space habitat design for ergonomics and the application of best practices for contemporary labs on Earth to define an integrative approach to a human-centered lunar geology lab.


Adam Oswald, University of Colorado Boulder, US
ICES502: Space Architecture
The 51st International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Saint Paul, Minnesota, US, on 10 July 2022 through 14 July 2022.


Lunar Laboratory, Lunar Geology, Lunar Basecamp, Lunar Architecture, Laboratory Design, Extreme Environment Architecture, Space Habitats, Surface Habitats, Space Architecture, Anthropometry, Sample Curation, Astromaterials