The space shuttle program might be ending, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be thinking about living on another world. I’m very certain that one day there will be places to live on the moon and Mars, but unless you want a house made of rocks, you need to bring the building materials yourself.
However, the space shuttle is not like a typical moving van, so whatever house you will want to bring would have to be small. Fortunately, a team of engineers at North Carolina State University have come up with a plan of a lightweight tent-like structure.
The collapsible structure is made from Demron, a polyurethane substrate that is resistant to both heat and radiation. It will reflect UV rays off its dome shape, and even repel incoming meteorites. As for power, it will use a Sabatier reactor for water, fuel, and oxygen, which is made from a nickel nanoparticle coated fiber material that can reduce the weight.
As you can surely see by the image here, this is a concept, but I believe that these engineers actually want to pitch their lightweight structure as part of the NASA RASCAL competition. I would like to see what this would look like on Earth, and would also see how long it takes to set up. Could a group of astronauts on the moon’s gravity do it? With less time and people? I guess we would have to go into space and try this, wouldn’t we?