The Space Research Centre Suspended Above a Crater


Oita prefecture in south-west Japan is just as well-known for its hot springs as it is for its mines. Its lunar-like landscapes will soon be home to a space research centre, suspended in mid-air.

The construction date for the centre is not yet known, but New York firm Cloud Architecture Office (the people behind the 9/11 Memorial on Staten Island in New York) have revealed the details of their project. We know that the centre will be accessed by a bridge and will have over seven floors. It will be suspended from four cables, 18 metres above an already existing crater which has been made larger for the project.

The building, named ‘Avatar X Lab’ in a reference to the James Cameron film, has been designed for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and a privately-held company. Made from materials reserved for unusual installations such as carbon, it will be the site of research into remote control of robots, with the aim to send robots into space by 2020, if everything goes to plan, to the Moon and Mars.