Valentina Sumini, PhD, is Space Architect and Research Affiliate at MIT Media Lab in Responsive Environments and Space Exploration Initiative, and Visiting Professor at Politecnico di Milano, where she teaches the course “Architecture for Human Space Exploration”.
She develops computational design solutions and architectures to sustain human life in extreme environments on Earth and to enable human space exploration in Low Earth Orbit, on the Moon and Mars. Her passion in advancing human performance during deep space exploration missions dates back to 2009, when she designed the hotel MOOREA on the lunar surface for democratizing the access to space to tourists.
Over the years she developed at MIT and MIT Media Lab more in depths studies that she applied to different scenarios and award winning competitions projects, mainly organized by international Space Agencies: a Space Hotel orbiting in Low Earth Orbit around Earth (NASA RASC-AL Competition 2017), a city on Mars and its generative design model (Mars City Design Competition 2017 ), a greenhouse on Mars (NASA Big Idea Challenge 2019), an ice extraction system for Mars (NASA RASC-AL Competition 2018), a Moon Village (European Space Agency), a soft robotic exoskeleton for enhancing astronaut movements and performance in microgravity and a pavilion, the Tidmarsh Living Observatory Portal (NASA TRISH), to reconnect astronauts with nature during long duration missions.
Valentina’s work has been featured among others in MIT News, Harvard Design Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, WIRED, Structure Magazine, IAC, IEEE, IASS, CHI, Ars Electronica and AIAA proceedings and TEDx Talks. She is Vice Chair of the ASCE Earth and Space Technical Committee (American Society of Civil Engineers), member of Space Generation Advisory Council and reviewer for American Society of Civil Engineers of Practice Periodical on Structural Design and Construction.
Finally, she is currently R&D specialist in the fields of Innovation and Sustainability at Coesia Engineering Center.