Hawai'i Space Grant Consortium, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawai'i, 1996

Lunar Life Support
Teacher Page

To design and build models of life support systems for a settlement on the Moon.


A future lunar base will have to be a self-contained habitat with all the life support systems necessary for the survival of people, animals, and plants. In this series of activities, the students will be designing and building models of nine life support systems which are crucial to our successful settlement of the Moon.

The nine life support systems are:

This activity is based on the Marsville activity on life support systems developed by the Challenger Center and is used with permission.


Review and prepare materials listed on the student sheets. Separate student activity sheets are included for each of the nine life support systems. Spaces for answers are not provided on all sheets, so students will need extra paper.

In Class

After dividing students into teams, you may want to have each person assume a role on the team, e.g., organizer, recorder, researcher, builder, artist, writer, etc. Distribute a student activity sheet to each team.

Each team must define the requirements of their system, exploring how these requirements are currently being met on Earth. Team members will research the limitations and/or opportunities posed by the Moon's environment.

The "Moon ABCs Fact Sheet" and maps of the Moon should be used as resource materials.

Each team will decide how the system will operate and what it will contain. A key part of the problem-solving process is the students' ability to evaluate the system solution in terms of whether it provides the greatest good and least harm to the persons and things affected.

Each model of a life support system must incorporate at least four facts from the "Moon ABCs Fact Sheet."

Models do not have to function physically, but each team member must be able to explain how the models should function.


Have each team share what they have learned with the entire class.

Did the students find that the Moon's environment placed limits on their designs of life support systems?

Did the students find opportunities for development on the Moon that could not happen on Earth?

Summarize the aspects and conditions of the Moon which make life support such a challenge.

Go to "Moon ABCs Fact Sheet"

Return to The Moon Activity Index.

Return to Hands-On Activities home page.