In cooperation with NASA and Rice University, students in Architecture
at Lund Institute of Technology, Lund, Sweden, are involved in
Stars 2000, a project that focuses on the concepts of advanced
life-support systems, leading also to applications in the design
of future homes.
While returning aboard Amtrak from
my recent vacation, I chanced to meet one of the students in this
program, Erik Westling. He had just completed the Field Study
portion of this project at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
in Houston. Bound for Southern California for a week of relaxation
on the beaches before returning to Sweden, Erik had become aware
of the longhorn steers seen from the train windows. Visualizing
that visitors to Mars would need protein in their diets, he sketched
a spacesuit for this purpose. He graciously provided this whimsical
drawing from his notebook, showing a life-support system and plenty
of pocketsall spacesuits need plenty of pockets!.
Students in the program first spent two weeks in Sweden studying
the challenges of life in sealed enclosures with limited space,
considering both normal routines and emergency situations. These
studies included the parameters of the human body and ergonometrics,
as well as environmental psychology.
Then in a month-long session at Houston, the teams worked within
the MARS program and the BIO-plex test chamber. Here, under the
leadership of Lars Lerup, dean of the faculty of Architecture
and Design at Rice, they built their knowledge of life in space,
learning to pose relevant questions about alien environments.
On return to Lund, participants will formulate their own final
project presentations, applying their new knowledge of life in
space to such practical situations as the improvement of dense
urban living conditions, emergency shelter, or use of new building
materials. Another byproduct of this course is to be the development
of a Space Heritage Museum for children.
With four other students, Erik's final project is a study of improvement
of personal space for submarine crews. For current information
on this project, you will find a summary at www.ark3.lth.se/
This cooperative study program across nations is bound to be an
asset for both countries as well as for the young people, such
as Erik, in their life's work and goals.