University of Tartu researchers are to take part in an international project to create infrastructure for supporting human life in extraterrestrial environments.
The aim of the project, SHEE (Self-deployable Habitat for Extreme Environments), is to develop a prototype capsule from carbon-fiber and aluminum that is capable of both assembling itself outside Earth's atmosphere and providing all the necessary conditions required for astronauts.
The roughly 3 million euro project was initiated by the Strasbourg-based International Space University, the University of Tartu and four private companies. The prototype should be completed by 2015.
The Estonian scientists are to develop and assemble the prototype's thermal solution, a task that requires extensive robotics skills, the University of Tartu said in a statement.
Though created with Mars and the Moon in mind, SHEEs could also be utilized on Earth. Alvo Aabloo, the University of Tartu's coordinator for the project, said the capsules could be deployed to create temporary housing for victims of a natural disaster such as an earthquake.