Valentina Sumini, Ph.D., is a Space Architect and Research Affiliate at the MIT Media Lab, as part of the Space Exploration Initiative. She created the first course in Italy in “Architecture for Human Space Exploration” at the Politecnico di Milano where she is Visiting Professor.
Her passion for space exploration dates back to 2009, when she first had the opportunity to design a hotel on the Moon, MOOREA, with the Alta Scuola Politecnica, to democratize access to space for tourists. In her studies, she has devoted herself to devising new computational design methods and multi-objective optimization processes to evaluate the performance of extra-planetary habitats, design for lunar village ecosystems and Martian cities, wearable soft-robotics to improve the mobility and safety of astronauts in microgravity and during Extra Vehicular Activity.
She has developed research and award-winning designs in several competitions organized by international space agencies: MARINA, a Space Hotel orbiting in Low Earth Orbit around the Earth (NASA RASC-AL Competition 2017), Redwood Forest, a city on Mars with its Mars Habitat W.A.T.E.R. (Mars City Design Competition 2017, IASS 2018), BEAVER, a greenhouse on Mars (NASA Big Idea Challenge 2019), H.Y.D.R.A, a system to extract ice and water from Martian permafrost (NASA RASC-AL Competition 2018), Moon Village in collaboration with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and the European Space Agency, and SpaceHuman a soft robotic exoskeleton tested during a Zero-G flight organized in 2019 by the MIT Media Lab – Space Exploration Initiative.
Valentina Sumini has been designated Ambassador of Italian Design in the World in 2021 and 2022. Sumini is also exploring technological solutions based on sustainability, advanced robotics and innovation as a linear technology transfer from space back to Earth at COESIA Engineering Center in Bologna.