Marc Heemskerk

Researcher - Moon and Mars In-Situ-Resource-Utilization


One of the next giant leaps in the future of humankind is to return to the lunar surface. Like 50 years ago, a small crew, focused on science and exploration, will fly to the Moon and perform geological, biological, atmospheric, and astronomical research experiments. Unlike 50 years ago, humanity is preparing for a more permanent and long-duration mission, ready to expand and start an actual lunar village.

The main problem we face then, is how to keep humans safe for long enough, even in the harsh environments of the lunar landscape. Where we often overlook certain cosmical weather events here on Earth - due to our naturally occurring atmosphere, magnetosphere, and generally welcoming temperatures - these are luxuries that have been proven to be extremely rare on the lunar surface. To still survive here we will have to get creative and challenge ourselves, to find new ways to protect ourselves from e.g. radiation and temperature changes.

By simulating space on Earth, we find certain problems and possible solutions before we send humans too far away for an emergency repair or a last-minute back-up. This is often done in 'space-analogue'-campaigns, such as CHILL-ICE, hosted by a team of young researchers last summer in western-Iceland. Here, two small crews of 3 astronauts, trained how it would be to live inside a lunar cave. The goal from this is of course not to 'just' learn about living on the Moon, but also to look back on the beautiful blue marble we were born in and to improve life on Earth.