Project Viriditas was a combined effort that consisted at its fullest a team of 28 students spanning from Architecture, Physics, Material Science, Biology, Design, Human Computer Interaction, Engineering, and was under the purview of CMU IDEATE
Project Viriditas was an undertaking attempting to merge students from multiple disciplines to craft a greenhouse ecosystem structure for deployment on the planet Mars. This effort was spearheaded by a resurgence in the field of space exploration that is being experienced by organizations such as NASA, and of which "space architects" are becoming more viable as a path of interest, due to projections by NASA indicating travel to Mars as early as the 2030's. Teams were involved into tackling different issues of the habitats systems, form, ecosystem, human interfaces, structure, and ethical implications among other aspects. The prompts for the habitats creation was to be understood that this form was to be either inflated or tensioned into existence after landing, and that ideally the ecosystem would operate in a closed loop manner, constantly recycling and feeding from each organisms waste and intake. In the end the team focused on a three pronged form that taped upward to support a large solar collector at the structures top, also allowing the plant life to receive the most sun and be as far away from the freezing Martian regolith as possible, while other organisms such as fungus and algal sacs could be housed in smaller quantities by a heat source placed near the columns tapered base. Given the relative sensitivity of the structures tensioned envelope and the low gravity on Mars, an upward deployment also makes sense to avoid unnecessary puncture across rugged Martian terrain. The strucutre is composed of a series of ring plates that house plant medium, onto which the tensioned skin is grafted to. A central telescoping core acts as the driver to pull the membrane into place and also houses resources for water misting and light apparatuses. Each structure is intended to echo a series of trees meeting at their canopies, allowing the three telescoping cores to create a tripod to keep the structure stable. While the project suffered from boughts of miscommunication between members of differing disciplines and disagreement in the organization of labor, the project was an excellent experience in working with a large group, and working to create not just a hypothetical proposal but a semi-working full scale physical prototype of the project in the form of an installation piece.
Virtual Reality Simulation Software and Interface
Original Design Ideas as part of Mars Solar Team