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McKelvey School of Engineering

Brown School

MEMS Seminar: Smart and Resilient ExtraTerrestrial Habitats

Thursday, April 18 | 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Stephen F. & Camilla T. Brauer Hall, 012
6548 Forest Park Pkwy, St. Louis, MO 63112, USA

Shirley J. Dyke, PhD, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University

The creation of safe and comfortable habitations is one of humankind’s oldest activities. Millennia of trials have brought the design and operation of habitats on Earth to a high degree of sophistication. However, as we consider moving out into Space, we will encounter challenges related to the harsh and unknown conditions that are present in this environment. These challenges will impede safety and thus, progress. The Resilient ExtraTerrestrial Habitats Institute (RETHi) is a NASA-funded research center supported through NASAs’ Science Technology Mission Directorate and dedicated to the mission to develop the techniques and technologies needed to establish a permanent human presence on the Moon and Mars. Designing to withstand the demands that such extreme environments will place on long-term deep space habitats represents one of the greatest challenges in this undertaking, and is the main the know-how to establish deep space habitat systems that are smart and resilient. The vast experience in engineering infrastructure for the Earth’s extreme environments must be leveraged and adapted to meet this new challenge. We have established both fully virtual and coupled physical-virtual simulation capabilities to enable us to explore a wide range of potential deep space SmartHab configurations and operating modes.

We define SmartHabs as habitats that have the ability to sense, anticipate, respond to, and learn from disruptions. Resilience requires that we first develop approaches to selecting a system architecture with the right features to support resilience. Situational awareness and autonomy are also needed to enable the design of habitats that are able to adapt, absorb and rapidly recover from expected and unexpected disruptions. We are developing techniques to extract actionable information for repair and recovery through monitoring and embedded intelligence.



Event Type



McKelvey School of Engineering


Science & Technology



Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
Event Contact

Kyla Kordell, kkyla@wustl.edu

Speaker Information

Professor Shirley Dyke holds a joint appointment in Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering at Purdue University. She is the Director of Purdue's Intelligent Infrastructure Systems Lab and the Director of the NASA-funded Resilient ExtraTerrestrial Habitat Institute. Her research focuses on “intelligent” structures, and her innovations encompass structural health monitoring and machine learning for structural damage assessment and reconnaissance support. She holds a B.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1991 and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1996. Dyke is the past Editor-in-Chief of the journal Engineering Structures. She was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from NSF (1998), the George Housner Medal by ASCE (2022), the SHM Person of the Year Award (2021), the International Association on Structural Safety and Reliability Junior Research Award (2001) and the ANCRiSST Young Investigator Award (2006).  ​​​​​​​

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