NASA Architecture: The Moon and Beyond
NASA architecture has everybody thinking about not only going to the Moon, but going to Mars as well. It’s been fifty years since we stepped on the moon. We’ve all been waiting for the next step.
The good news is that not only is NASA thinking about going to the moon, but they’re also thinking about going to Mars. So are some of the commercial projects out there. That includes Blue Origin and also SpaceX. Virgin Galactic is already thinking about that. The one that has been most vocal has been Elon Musk. With SpaceX, he is thinking he has a plan to go to Mars.
But the next step after that is to go there. Then what? What are we going to do? Well, the natural response is that we’re going to colonize Mars. I know it sounds a little too out there. It is very Hollywood, very sci-fi. But no, it is a reality. We are going to Mars. And we are going to colonize Mars.
Going to Mars: Things to Consider
So what should we be thinking about when it comes to NASA architecture? Well, we’re going to need materials to build over there. What are the types of materials we’re going to need? We’re going to need materials that have to be light enough to be able to transport them. They’re going to have to be functional. They’re going to need the ability to withstand some of the extreme temperatures there. They must survive the harsh environment of Mars.
We will need the ability to work with materials that must be very strong on their own. That way, we don’t have to deal with the seismic conditions of Mars. We don’t even know some of the things that we are going to run into up there. There could be corrosive materials. The lack of moisture could be a factor as well.
There are so many things to keep in mind. The good news is that this exercise not only allows us to think about what we’re going to need on Mars. Those thoughts are also going to help us develop materials that we’ll be able to use here on Earth.
When We Went to the Moon
I remember when we went to the Moon fifty years ago. That was when everybody was thinking about space exploration. If we can go to the moon, all of a sudden there were so many possibilities of how we could live here on Earth. And that is one of the beauties of this thought process. Even if we weren’t to go to Mars, it developed a thought process of what we can do here on Earth. That is one of the things that inspires me a lot.
One of the projects that we participated in was the master plan of one of the NASA centers. As part of that, we set the standard for the next twenty years about what NASA architecture was going to be like. Well, there were many things that we had to think about. Not only sustainability but also exposure to the environment.
This facility that we designed was in a desert environment. There is not much water, but there is plenty of wind. Not to mention lots of heat. Extreme temperatures. Also, we had to deal with sonic booms from aircraft breaking the sound barrier in that area. We made sure to use technologies that would make these buildings self-sufficient. So that is what was asked of us. And those are some of the things that we had to consider.
NASA Architecture Embraces LEED
Some of the buildings that we designed for NASA were LEED platinum buildings. One, in particular, was a very successful project that won awards. Also, it received many commendations. It was a high-profile type of project, so we feel very fortunate to be part of that.
But that isn’t even the coolest thing about being part of this. The coolest thing would be that it made us realize that this is how we’re going to think when we go to Mars. We need to set the standard about more than what the architecture is going to look like. It must perform in a place like Mars.
We’re not talking the cities of Los Angeles or New Orleans or New York or anything like that. In these places, there is already a standard. We’re talking about untouched territory. That needs to develop into NASA architecture that our future generations are going to live with. And they will want to live in a comfortable way and be able to grow and develop in this other world.