Space is More, a Wrocław-based company consisting of space enthusiasts, started a project that already gained interest all over the world: they are building a space habitat – an exact copy of a Martian base – here on Earth. Close to Tarnów, to be exact. This habitat, the third in the world and the first in Europe, will be used by astronauts as a part of their training, by scientists for research purposes, but also by “civilians” as an unorthodox soft skills training venue.

The main purpose of this project is tied closely to the ESA’s (European Space Agency) initiative of Moon Village. ESA plans to create a permanent base on the Moon, continuing the tradition of international cooperation within space projects. As this is the first undertaking of this kind, ESA needs to test the operation of such a station in terms of both technology and influence on human behavior. The Space is More’s habitat M.A.R.S. (Modular Analog Research Station) will provide a perfect environment for scientists to perform their research and allow for monitoring the behavior and psychological condition of astronauts confined together in a small space.

This project may have measurable influence on the costs of space missions. “If astronauts conduct the same task a couple of times in our habitat, they will come up with ideas how to make the procedure more time-saving and efficient,” said Szymon Gryś from Space is More. Space scientists will have the opportunity to test new sustainable technologies, for example in biotechnological laboratories.

When the habitat will not host astronauts and scientists, it will be used as a training venue. Carefully selected topics – leadership, design thinking, teamwork – will benefit from such an unusual location. The trainings will take up at least two days to ensure full immersion. Participants will be equipped with spacesuits and go through simulations that will require cold blood and cooperation – for example, a sudden pressure drop of loss of communication with the command center. The trainings will not only be exciting (who wouldn’t want to spend a few days in a Martian habitat?), but will also make learning effective and effortless. Michał Kasprzyk, a public speaking expert from Spice Speakers Bureau, will be responsible for the curricula.

As the habitat is in a secluded location, Space is More also plans to conduct space-based courses in other firms’ headquarters. The topics of such trainings include space engineering workshops (during which the team will have to construct, for example, a Martian rover), courses about public speaking (based on John F. Kennedy’s speech about the mission to the Moon) or tech shows.

The Space is More company is responsible for the habitat construction project and the crowdfunding campaign that helped them to hype it. The formal owner of the habitat is the company Space Garden. Currently, the station is still under construction – Space Garden plans to have finished it by spring 2017. It will host six astronauts on about 60 m2. The first “space mission” in this habitat, organized by ESA, is scheduled for spring.

Edge-cutting technologies, extreme experiences, professional coaches, full immersion – this station will have it all. No wonder Space is More is already deluged with applications from companies that want to hold a training in this location.