…Turning off the grow light at the close of its 12-hour cycle, she walked to the circle of exposed lunar soil at the center of the room and laid her body down. Her fingers stretched out, pushing lightly into the ground. She closed her eyes. She felt herself as a fleeting, floating thing, a moment of warm body on a geological soul.
Welcome to the Guesthouse, the only human construction allowed on the moon by global accord. Here, one guest at a time is transported for a 14 day stay, half of the lunar daily cycle. For a week each of lunar day and night, this guest is the only human presence on the moon. They have come there through a global, open access lottery available to all Earth’s people. Their stay is free; the Guesthouse is funded by a redirection of public money from subsidies for commercial space ventures.
The Guesthouse is not a colonization project. The house itself is a guest, a visitor to the moon that is conscious and mindful of its host. Its construction is in agreement with a new global space treaty to reject nationalist and capitalist uses of outer space in favor of inclusive actions based in ecological justice. Many past, current, and projected outer space projects fall in line with familiar colonialist narratives of expansion of domain, resource prospecting and extraction, and exploitation of others; the Guesthouse asks not how we will live on the moon, but why.
Instead of continuing to enact colonialist paradigms, humans can choose to prioritize respect in our treatment of extra-terrestrial bodies. The Guesthouse does not deny our impulse to explore and seek out new feelings and possibilities. Instead, it presents a way that we may interact with the Moon that honors the Moon’s inherent dignity.
The Guesthouse itself is a movable structure whose presence is not permanent. It rests in the Moon’s craters, its foundation able to conform with the crater’s topography. Outside the house is a set of stairs; donning a spacesuit, the guest may use these to climb to the crater’s top and meander a bounded area of the lunar landscape. In the center of the Guesthouse is a circle of exposed lunar soil; here, the guest may touch the Moon itself without the distance of a spacesuit.
Daily life in the Guesthouse involves the ritualized care of its life support system, patterns of maintenance that reveal that we must take active care of those who sustain us.The house uses a bioregenerative life support system that, once functioning, is a self-sustaining and almost-closed system designed for minimal impact on the Moon. All resources are Earth-based to reduce lunar imprint. Water is collected from the habitat’s atmosphere and wastewater. Plants supply food and cycle carbon dioxide into oxygen. Human and plant waste are processed in a microbial bioreactor, outputted as water and fertilizer. The only excess produced is a surplus of processed waste; each guest brings and takes home a personal waste container containing this surplus.
At the core of the project is an open question — in what ways can the Moon change us, open us, and reveal new thoughts and truths? The Moon offers us a sense of solitariness and a perspective of our home we cannot find on Earth. The Guesthouse provides a way for any human, regardless of identity, to experience this with an ethic of justice and care.