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GALLERY: Tartu's self-deployable 'Mars house' leaves for France

University of Tartu researchers have finished building the prototype of a Self-Deployable Habitat for Extreme Environments (SHEE), or a "Mars House" as it is known, which will soon be dispatched to France.

SHEE is an international project that aims to develop an autonomous capsule from carbon-fiber and aluminum, that can self-deploy in places where traditional construction methods are out of the question due to lack of infrastructure, tools, or the safety risks and costs involved. As such, it provides a feasible solution for human space exploration.

The project was initiated by the Strasbourg-based International Space University, the University of Tartu and a few private companies from France, Austria, Belgium and the Czech Republic.

The Institute of Technology of the University of Tartu was responsible for the construction of the prototype's body.

Project leader Priit Kull said that the house is a first test, but it is not impossible that an improved version will some day make it to Mars. The current version is likely to be put into more mundane uses. It could prove useful in the disaster areas or function as research bases in extreme environments on earth.

SHEE is 2.4 x 6 meters in size when compressed and about twice as large when deployed. It is designed to shelter two people for at least two weeks.

SHEE will be sent to Marseilles on Friday. There it will be fitted with survival systems and furnishing that would allow it to be used in non-terrestrial environments.

Editor: M. Oll

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