Mars Exchange
Living in Space: Lab Day at Border Sessions Conference

Living in Space: Lab Day at Border Sessions Conference

by Natasha Schön on Friday, 23rd June 2017 in STEM, Technology

People in both the private and governmental industry alike have set their sights on expanding humanity beyond Earth’s orbit. Hence, human settlements in our solar system may become feasible within decades. Some of the key questions surrounding our expansion into space are: How will people live in space and what kind of work will they do? How will they entertain themselves and how will they protect themselves against the dangers in space or other heavenly bodies? How will people use the resources in space to support the small settlements that will eventually grow into large communities? This was the main focus of the Border Sessions Lab day on June 28th, 2017 in The Hague, the Netherlands. 

Looking at the current development in the space community, hollowed asteroids, large space stations, and planetary and moon surfaces could all become viable outpost locations, which means we need to figure out how to live off of the "land" in those areas - otherwise known as in situ recource utilisation. Some of the factors that need to be taken into account are life support systems (agriculture, food, oxygen, water, etc.), energy sources (nuclear, solar, etc.), environmental conditions, and how to eventually become completely self-sustainable. The main question for the Border Sessions was as follows: “How will people live in space and what local resources can be used?” 

Border Sessions Workshop 
During the Border Sessions Lab day, participants worked in groups of six to brainstorm and assess the critical areas required for a settlement. Depending on where in the solar system their outpost was located, the groups had to make use of certain local resources. The day began with two talks which provided the participants with the relevant background and the goals for that day. A special presentation was also given by Clouds AO on Human Habitat in Space and provided a behind the scenes look at the design process.

The teams will be guided by a number of specialists in their respective fields:

  • Michel van Pelt: systems engineer for an international space agency
  • Frans Blok; architect en Mars Society Netherlands founder
  • Arno Wielders: CTO Mars One and space systems engineer

At the end, participants completed a conceptual design of a settlement identifying key systems that can help the settlement thrive in that particular environment. Experts in spaceflight and architecture were available for questions and potential directions. Moreover, this marked the start of an online community (living where people can share their designs, discuss ideas in an open forum to improve our knowledge, and organise meetings, workshops etc. 

Would you like to join? Find further information here:

About Border Sessions
Border Sessions is a yearly international technology conference and a year-round lab aimed to kick-start and fuel challenging ideas, experiments, and endeavors. They unite the most creative and critical minds from around the globe who share the belief that technology should be a powerful instrument for positive change.

Three-day tickets are available for €150,- ex. VAT. Students are offered a special rate of €45,- ex. VAT.
For more information about Border Sessions and tickets, please visit

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