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IGLUNA: living in ice

In September 2018, around 150 students from EPFL and 12 other European universities embarked on an international project run by the European Space Agency (ESA) under its ESA_Lab@ initiative. The idea behind the project, known as IGLUNA, was to demonstrate the feasibility of “living in ice.” After ten months of hard work, the student teams unveiled their prototype habitats to the public in June 2019, in the Swiss Alpine village of Zermatt. Around 50 students from EPFL took part in the project as part of “Design Together,” an interdisciplinary teaching initiative at the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC). The students, from ENAC’s three disciplines, opted for an igloo-like structure made from bricks weighing around 10 kilograms each. The team designed the habitat, made the 200 separate parts, and tested their design at EPFL before transporting it brick by brick up to the Glacier Palace at the Klein Matterhorn for assembly, at over 3,800 meters above sea level. Another team produced an interactive, virtual model showing what the different parts of a space habitat would look like, while a third group worked on artificial closed ecosystems. The students carried out the work as part of the “Living on Mars” teaching unit.