[Martian Longhorns]
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Martian Longhorns

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 pockets—all 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.

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