Jul 14, 2021

Research firm and lighting brand partner to test habitat design for the Moon

Watch This Space
Photos: SAGA Space Architects

Last year, Danish lighting brand Louis Poulsen teamed up with SAGA Space Architects to find out what lighting design might look like on the Moon in the future.

Specializing in R&D for space habitation, SAGA launched a simulated Moon habitat called LUNARK, and tested it on an analog Moon mission near Moriusaq, Greenland in the high arctic for three months. Since a key factor for psychological and physical well-being is the need for a stable circadian rhythm, which the Moon lacks due to its 28 day-night cycle, Louis Poulsen helped create custom-made circadian light panels to bathe the interiors in pseudo-natural daylight.

The light panels counteract space’s lack of stimuli by adding variation and emulating the daily cycle of natural sunlight, providing all the phases of a natural light environment: dawn, sunrise, daylight, sunset and dusk. To combat monotony even further, the panels were also programmed with variation between the days to mimic different weather patterns experienced on Earth, from overcast and low light intensity to brighter, high intensity warm light. In addition, the lighting simulates a healthy circadian rhythm by lowering the intensity of blue light toward the evening to promote the production of melatonin, and increasing blue light near wake-up time to suppress melatonin and promote cortisol.

Circadian light panels
Circadian light panels on the habitat’s ceiling simulate varying weather and daylight conditions (above).
Photos: SAGA Space Architects

The team plans to conduct further research and continue the development of the circadian light system by looking into other environmental, seasonal and weather effects to simulate inside the habitat, such as sensations of rain, snow or other weather events.