Scientists Prototype Moon House

Self-sufficient space hab designed for future Moon base
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2007 11:43 AM CDT
This photo released by NASA shows the Earth rising above the stark Moon, and was taken by Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders on the Apollo 8 mission during the waning days of a chaotic 1968. Anders put it...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 6 more images

(Newser) – While scientists in the '60s raced to put a man on the moon, modern scientists want to put a dozen there for three years in 90%-95% self-sufficiency. An Australian team is prototyping Luna Gaia, a space habitat that would use biological systems to recycle materials and grow food, although bored astronauts would have to phone home for luxuries like "fruit salad, spices, or chocolate," says an engineer.

The design bears similarities to Biosphere 2, an attempt to build a self-contained mini-ecosystem in the Arizona desert, reports Cosmos. The habitat still has serious technical hurdles that need to be overcome, such as the mechanics of plant growth and pollination in a closed system—and could also be threatened by the introduction of pathogens or Pauly Shore.