The Mars Desert Research Center Got an IKEA-Style Makeover
Space may be the final frontier, but it’ll probably be decorated with IKEA. While humans haven’t set foot on Mars yet, researchers at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah are doing the next-closest thing, simulating life on Mars and conducting research “in pursuit of the technology, operations, and science required for human space exploration,” according to its website.
What does this have to do with IKEA? Because MDRS is designed to mimic a research station on Mars, its space is limited, with six researchers living there at a time, usually for about two-to-three-week stays. Drawn to the small-space shared-living challenge, IKEA interior designer Christina Levenborn stayed at MDRS two years ago and recently came back to give the station an IKEA-style makeover.
“We tried to work with products for small space living situation that could be arranged in a flexible and multifunctional way,” said Levenborn on IKEA’s blog, IKEA Today. “For the habitat we brought products on wheels for mobile living, stools for seating and table surfaces and stackable chairs for saving space.”
The station’s habitat is divided into communal and private space, with a lab and workshop on the lower level and kitchen and six small bunk rooms on the top.
“We chose to maximize communal space and minimize private space,” says Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society, which runs MDRS. Each crew member has a small bunk they can retire to when they want to be alone, but the space they share is fairly large. This decision was based on field experience in the Arctic, where I observed that in good expeditions people chose to hang out together in the main tent, and only retire for sleep in their private tents.”
IKEA upgrades to the space include cabinets carefully installed along a curved wall, shelving for spacesuit helmets, and rolling carts and desk lamps for the lab.
“We tried to work with products for small space living situation that could be arranged in a flexible and multifunctional way,” said Levenborn. “For the habitat, we brought products on wheels for mobile living, stools for seating and table surfaces and stackable chairs for saving space.”