Senses as drivers for space habitats design in microgravity

Diagram showing how a body naturally acts under microgravity with the head tilted at a 45° angle
  • habitats
  • deep space
  • biosocial
Project Dates:

Senses as Drivers for Space

Moving into off-planet environments require different approaches to design, mainly due to the fundamental physical changes astronauts perceive through their senses. Indeed, adjustments to off-planet conditions have important psychological and physiological implications and it cannot be presumed to be directly transferable from terrestrial habitat design. This project focused on microgravity environments and studies evidence reports and other documents on human performance in space in order to have a concise overview of the effect of space conditions and weightlessness. The study of the senses that affect health and comfort highlights the importance of changes in the perception of space, vestibular system, and proprioception. On top of that, it also demonstrated the importance of subjective perception. This project then connected these studies with established architectural design methods such as the use of colours, spatial layout, and haptic surfaces resulting in a set of specific design responses for microgravity habitats. These suggestions and the follow up guidelines could enable the development of habitats that enhance astronauts' adjustment to microgravity environments and overall comfort.

Diagram showing how one can move from a traditional microgravity module towards an adapted version of the Endless House where one can walk through different rooms and levels in one continuous way. The diagram highlights the playfulness and unpredictability of the design, variation in area types, complex layout, and flexibility in the interior
Sensory Stimulation Through Spatial Design inspired by the Endless House by Frederick Kiesler
Diagram showing a 3D section of a habitat module with added virtual windows, circadian lighting system, adding colours shades and tones, variations in light and shadowed areas, connection with nature and involving haptic surfaces.
Sensory Stimulation Through Colour, Lighting and haptic Design
Diagram showing the amount of objects in the International Space Station work module with screens, artifacts, cables hanging from all sides in a homogeneous way
Example of sensory overload in the ISS