Designers at SOM, working in collaboration with an advanced research team at the University of Manchester, have put forward a vision for an outer-space habitat enhanced with graphene—an ultra-rigid and ultra-light material with transformative potential for applications in outer space. Graphene, which was first isolated by Nobel Prize-winning scientists at Manchester in 2004, offers the possibility of a lighter space habitat that is also suited to such uses as radiation shielding. Together, the SOM and Manchester teams are also researching how the space habitat and other graphene-enhanced structures could be manufactured by next-generation robotic machines.
“As architects, our role is to combine and integrate the most innovative technologies, materials, methods, and above all the human experience to designing inhabited environments,” said SOM Senior Designer Daniel Inocente. “Conducting research using graphene allows us to test lightweight materials and design processes that could improve the efficacy of composite structures for potential applications on Earth and future use in space.”