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UTSA tapped by NASA to help build homes on Moon, Mars

The project is expected to put UTSA on a global platform, with students even having a part in the mission.

SAN ANTONIO — NASA is calling on the help of the University of Texas at San Antonio with an important mission to the Moon and Mars: The university will help play a part in building homes at both locations. 

Arturo Montoya, an associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, is leading the charge. 

"It is something that you dream as a kid," he said. "Just to see it happen is mind-blowing. We are building homes for the moon."

Montoya is just one of the brilliant minds designing smart homes up in space.

"We expect a lot of things to go wrong, because the habitats are going to be under harsh environmental conditions," he said. 

This is no easy task, universities all around the U.S. are helping. The homes will need to be resilient to survive the conditions.

"You are up against zero-gravity," Montoya said. "You have solar radiation effects. You have a lot of dust particles."

So, what would a home on the moon look like? Early models show a capsule or round dome that would be used for NASA missions. 

"Eventually, the people that go there would be able to exercise," he said. "They will be able to have meals, and enjoy their time. Eventually, there will be regular homes, because we will be able to figure this out."

This project is putting UTSA on a global platform, and students will even participate in the mission. 

"The eyes of the world are on us," he said. "We are going to work very hard to make it happen."

The project is going to keep UTSA engineers busy for the foreseeable future; it's set to begin in June and last as long as five years.  

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