Student teams build moon habitat in Zermatt


Would it be possible to live on the moon? Twenty teams of European students have been considering this question as part of the Igluna Project. Igluna’s field research will take place from 17 June – 3 July 2019 in the Glacier Palace on the Klein Matterhorn.

Twenty teams of students will investigate how humans could live on the moon. In preparation for the project, the students built prototypes in autumn 2018, designed for life in the ice beneath the surface of the  moon, to be tested in the ice on the Klein Matterhorn in Zermatt. The project is called Igluna.

Prototypes arrive in Zermatt in June

The project teams are currently assembling their prototypes and will send them to Zermatt in June. The challenge will be fitting the items in the gondola and the Matterhorn glacier ride 3S cable car in order to transport them to the Glacier Palace on the Klein Matterhorn.

Igluna will be open to the public

The prototype elements will be combined during the field research from 17 June – 3 July 2019. The students will build the habitat inside the Glacier Palace at 3,883 metres above sea level, 15 metres beneath the surface of the glacier, in temperatures of -4°C. The teams will also test the prototypes outside the ice cave on the surface of the Klein Matterhorn glacier and present their projects to experts.

In parallel with the campaign, the students will set up a Project Igluna exhibition on life on the moon in the art gallery at the Backstage Hotel Vernissage in Zermatt. The field research will be open to the public. There will also be some additional events in Zermatt.

Igluna comprises 21 sub-projects which will all be part of the field research from 17 June – 3 July 2019. These include the development of:

  • a robot that can saw through blocks of ice and build a wall with them
  • a cultivation system that uses human waste material as fertilizer
  • a bio-reactor that grows algae and produces oxygen
  • a system that monitors people’s health in the ice

All projects

Igluna aim and organiser

Igluna is intended to be a pilot project that supports and promotes the ESA’s laboratory initiatives. Findings from Igluna will help when running future ESA labs.

The project is coordinated by the Swiss Space Center, a national institution with offices in the ETH and EPFL (Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology). The Center manages the national Swiss space programme. The project is also supported by the Swiss Space Office of the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SBFI) and the European Space Agency.


Official Igluna website