Melodie Yashar

Space Architect, ICON

Melodie Yashar is a space architect, technologist, and researcher. Melodie’s work focuses on the development of construction technologies to build off-world habitats and ensure a permanent human presence on the Moon and eventually Mars. She is the Director of Building Design & Performance at ICON, a construction technologies company focused on large scale additive manufacturing for Earth and in space. Her department supports design and construction of dignified and resilient terrestrial housing solutions, in addition to development of off-world construction systems. Melodie teaches undergraduate and graduate design courses at Art Center College of Design. In previous roles Melodie was a Senior Research Associate with the Human Systems Integration Division at NASA Ames via San Jose State University Research Foundation, as well as a co-founder of Space Exploration Architecture (SEArch+), a research group developing human supporting designs for space exploration. Her background is in industrial design, architecture, and human-computer interaction with an emphasis in robotics.

Melodie Yashar's Events

Keynote - Building on Mars: How Disruptive Technology Development Can Get Us There

Date: Wednesday, 19 October

Presented by: Melodie Yashar, Space Architect, ICON

The concept of going to the Moon and Mars—once the subject of science fiction alone—is now supported by private and public entrepreneurial efforts alike. Today, NASA in collaboration with SpaceX, Boeing, and other aerospace partners are working to design, build, test and operate reliable and cost-effective human transportation to not only the International Space Station, but by 2024, to have “boots on the Moon” once again, and build humanity’s first off-world settlement. Many of the world’s nations—China, India, Russia, Japan, and more—are accelerating technology development to realize a permanent human presence on the Moon. By 2028, NASA seeks to deploy technologies for the construction of a Lunar base. The European Space Agency has long celebrated the concept of an international “moon village.” Commercial development of the Moon will not only incentivize new economic and business opportunities through space tourism, resource mining and more—but speaks to humanity’s impulse to pioneer and venture into uncharted territories, and generate ground-breaking scientific knowledge about our universe. To make it happen NASA is leaning into private-public as well as international partnerships. The democratization of “new space” has enabled multiple startups to competitively disrupt the aerospace industry, driving the costs of spaceflight downwards to where commercial space travel has now become a new reality. Mars, on the other hand, presents a host of even more daunting challenges for human spaceflight. Communications latencies, the harsh radiation environment, and the prohibitively expensive costs of launching habitat elements and other types of infrastructure to the red planet are forcing us to rethink not only how will we get there (e.g. transportation), but also how will we sustain and support the first four, then twelve, then one-hundred crewmembers? What will future Martian cities be and how will they be built? How will they enable human beings to thrive in a fundamentally hostile environment? What will our food, water and air resources be? Designing technologies the way we have been prior to this moment simply will not cut it. In this talk we explore the emerging field of sustainable construction on Mars, how it is changing the landscape of building on Earth, and how it paves the way for imagining the unimaginable: how humanity’s life off-world will truly unfold.