Testlab is the future of lunar living and space exploration. The concept of the lunar Testlab is simple – gradually populate the moon over time. This will happen in the space of several years, beginning with a simple, singular settlement at its commencement that will be solely inhabited by a set number of astronauts. As the settlement begins to evolve and grow over time, more people will be able to inhabit the settlement. As the Testlab becomes autonomous and more established, ordinary people, like you and me, will be able to travel to the moon and participate in the growth and flourishing of the Testlab. They will be able to experiment with growing fruitful plants in space, experiment with 3D and 4D printing and will experience what it means to live in what was thought to be an inhumane environment. The idea is that professional astronauts will work hand-in-hand together with people that are passionate about outer space and strive to find new and fascinating ways of living, in a world that is becoming ever more threatening to live in.
The Testlab settlement is based on the idea of the Russian Babushka Doll – one layer protects the next. On the very inside of the settlement are the Pods, which inhabit the private sleeping quarters, the communal rooms, the greenhouse, as well as the experimental labs and the necessary machinery to sustain life on the moon. Between the pods and the outer most protective membrane is the void that acts as yet another protective layer between livable and unlivable space.
The most important structure of the Testlab is the outer membrane. Based on a simple origami pattern, it can be 3D printed and it is self assembled on site when the material it is made of – programmed carbon fiber – shapes itself once it senses pressure variation with the first solar wind. This membrane acts as a large protective shell that covers the whole settlement, but it also has the purpose of producing water and oxygen which is the key strategy of our project. Solar winds on the moon’s surface hold hydrogen atoms that can be captured and stored and turned into useful oxygen atoms, consequentially, helping sustain life in the settlement. This outer “shell“ membrane is divided into several layers, where the first one contains an aqueous solution which receives and transmits the hydrogen cations below (wetted cations are more stable than dry ones), meanwhile the second one is characterized by reversed dialysis engines with three modules. Each of these modules contain anions of elements that are widespread in lunar regolith such as iron (Fe), silicon (Si), chloride (Cl) and nitrogen (N). Their transmission from one module to another is sustained from nanoporous membrane layers that maintain the atom migration in one direction, that follows always the lower density.
As to wrap it up these engines are therefore divided into several nano porous layers based on the notion of reversed dialysis. These layers contain the following solutions: Fe(OH)2, SiCl4, and Si02. The hydrogen moves through the various layers due to the anion effect and serves to break these formulas in order to ultimately gain oxygen and water from these reactions.