Interaction Designer


Astronaut empathizer Peter designs Mars habitations for NASA.


Summer Internship

How will humans live on Mars for 240 days?

Objective —  Design a habitation that works like a lab, yet feels like a home, envisioning a permanent human presence on Mars.

"Our goal is to develop a high-fidelity, human-in-the-loop, Mars surface analog in support of next generation human exploration missions."

NASA's Mission Statement

Design Process

  • Observational Study
  • User Interviews
  • Usability Testing
  • Programmatic Review
  • Anthropometric Analysis
  • Environment Design
  • Task Analysis
  • User Flows
  • Requirements Analysis
  • User Journey
  • System Integration
  • Iterative Prototyping
  • CAD Modelling
  • Design Visualization
  • Design Presentation

With Hestia, NASA takes a first step 

in Mars habitation design.

From Skylab to the ISS, Hestia is the next evolution of space habitations,

NASA's testbed for human life on Mars.


Design Scope

What are the constraints?

70+ Crew Functions

4 crew members

120-180 days

40 Million miles from earth

20 ft diameter

3 levels

No outside air

No outside water

0% Starting Habitability

HESTIA Interior

HESTIA Habitation, 

May 2016

, 100% Steel, 

0% Livability


Design Research

What would you need to live on Mars?

Research Activities  —  Sample space food, interview systems specialists, user test with astronauts, & tour a full-scale model of the International Space Station.


Task & System Requirements

What does it take to live in space?

Focus —  Investigate how astronauts interact with habitation systems & build knowledge of task requirements.

Sampling space food

Full-scale ISS Hygiene model

Life sciences unit


User Research & Testing

What is it like to be an astronaut?

User testing with astronauts

Observing astronaut training

Astronaut logs + ISS video tours


Precedent Studies

What has NASA tried before?

Analysis —  More flexible space for maintenance, larger & more private crew quarters, separate noise & smells from command deck, thoroughly consider emergency responses.

Entering the HERA analog chamber

Exploration vehicle design iterations

Habitation guidelines c. 1971


Insights & Strategy

What makes a habitation successful?

Process —    Bridging research to habitation design requires full integration of activities into optimized workstations & habitation decks.


System Integration

3 levels, 20 ft diameter, what goes where?

Process —  Tons of sketches, continuous review & revision, drawing insights from all levels of research.


Concept Development

How many iterations?

Process —  Endless architectural sketches, a million discarded ideas, dozens of stakeholder interests to balance.


Habitation Experience

How best to communicate 500 hours of research & prototyping?

Deliverables —    Sketches & architectural plans, CAD model of the habitation, renderings of every system & workstation, & a presentation to NASA Divisional heads.


3... 2... 1... Blast-off?

Where is Hestia now?

While Mars remains 40 million miles away, NASA continues developing Hestia, both through university partnerships (including RISD), as well as at the Johnson Space Center Hybrid Reality Lab.