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Steel Suspended Space Lab Will Mimic Lunar Environment

Steel News - Published on Fri, 16 Aug 2019

Image Source: POSCO
Last year, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and ANA Holdings Inc announced a plan to open a research campus dedicated to advancing space exploration. The campus is due to break ground in Japan’s Oita prefecture in 2020. One of the central structure for the research is a simulated moon crater suspended on steel cables. In the words of the project architect, steel was chosen as the most feasible and proven system to realize the unique design.

A pioneering space technology research campus, which will be used as a test field for a consortium of global tech companies, is due to break ground in Japan in 2020. The project is a partnership between ANA Holdings Inc and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency both experts at launching vehicles into the atmosphere and is part of Avatar X, a collaborative program for the advancement of space exploration and development.

Avatar X has identified three areas that will benefit from the campus’ research: remote construction in space, operation and maintenance of space stations and facilities from Earth, and space-based entertainment and travel for the general public.

Mr Masayuki Sono, project architect said that “The overall structure looks like the wheel of a bicycle, which is laid onto the crater, and the building itself forms the central hub and is supported on steel cable ‘spokes’, forming a ‘tensegrity’ structure.”

Oita is a coastal prefecture on Japan’s Kyushu Island, and the former mining site already resembles the lunar surface. The new campus will consist of several buildings as well as a moon simulation terrain, which will be used to experiment with the remote semi-autonomous construction of lunar surface habitats using avatar robots.

Clouds Architecture Office – a New York firm known for the Staten Island 9/11 memorial, and for working with Nasa to develop the Mars Ice Home – has completed concept designs for a masterplan and three buildings at the Oita campus: a research and development centre, a moon environment simulator, and the Avatar X lab building, which will be situated at the heart of the campus floating above a moon-like crater.

Avatar X hopes to begin testing avatars in Low-Earth Orbit in the mid-2020s, and the other-worldly robotics research lab will certainly be a unique symbol, representing the leading edge of technological development, which will help humans to live and work in space.

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Posted By : Ratan Singh on Fri, 16 Aug 2019
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