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CHILL-ICE analogue astronaut missions
The ECHO habitat inside Stefánshellir, Hallmundarhraun, Iceland.
LocationSubsurface Lava Tube Habitat
First mission dateSeptember 2018
Mission capabilities
Typical crew size3
Maximum crew size3-4
Typical mission duration3-7 days
Operational history
Days occupied3 missions
Total crew25
Total EVAs13
Technical data
Internal volume28m3
Power capacity2 kW
Technical equipment
  • Two docking ports
  • Electric stove
  • Refrigerator
Scientific equipment
  • Fiton-3 plant life support system
  • X-ray detection system
EVA environment
  • One airlock
  • Subsurface environment
  • Accurate geomorphological formations for lunar and Martian exploration
  • Lava tube and accurate geochemistry
  • Isolated from daylight/direct communications

CHILL-ICE is a series of analogue astronaut campaigns hosted by ICEE.Space, taking place in Iceland. Thus far, three missions have taken place under two research campaigns, with a fourth scheduled for August 2024. CHILL-ICE was founded by Marc Heemskerk in collaboration with EuroMoonMars in 2018 and became the basis of ICEE.Space after its first full analogue astronautical campaign finished in 2021. CHILL-ICE is an acronym and stands for the Construction of a Habitat Inside a Lunar-analogue Lava tube - Iceland.


CHILL-ICE is the first fully subsurface analogue astronaut campaign taking place inside a lava tube, allowing a unique environment to simulate life on the Moon and other planetary bodies within our solar system. The CHILL-ICE missions are always held in non-permanent bases, to minimise the impact of the mission research on the natural environment in Iceland, and set an example for future extraterrestrial lava tube missions.

The key focus of the CHILL-ICE campaigns is to establish functionality of research and trainings inside lava tubes. Humans and (robotic) instruments will play a big part of future lunar exploration and will be in an ever-increasing degree of cooperation. This creates a necessity for training with and testing of these instruments and rovers in a lunar-analogue scenario, including the human factor.

History and facilities

CHILL-ICE developed from a EuroMoonMars project in 2018, after an initial scouting campaign covering multiple lava fields and lava tubes in western and southern Iceland, led by Bernard Foing and Marc Heemskerk, pinpointed the need for a lava-tube based habitat. After joining as Project Coordinator at the pilot year of IGLUNA, hosted by the Swiss Space Center, and Remote-Support and Lead Scientist on several EMMIHS, hosted at HI-SEAS, Heemskerk officially came up with the acronym CHILL-ICE in early 2020. Later that year, the envoy took place that facilitated crucial networking on-site with local Icelandic contacts and Sönghellir, the easternmost part of the Stefánshellir lava tube, was selected as the ideal location for a short testing campaign for future lunar-analogue research work.

The initial habitat for CHILL-ICE, Extreme Cave Habitat One (ECHO), was designed and constructed by the Wilson School of Design of the Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Richmond, Vancouver, Canada. Solar-based power supply systems, PhotoVoltaic Energy System (PVES) was designed and constructed by Blinkinglights in the Netherlands, whilst students from Reykjavík University designed and tested the communication network for direct contact from the crew to the habitat and directly to MCC.

The initial crew selection saw a lot of experienced analogue astronauts joining the team, many of which were also involved in their individual research projects or management

Scientific work and EVA environment

Overview of the equipment available in the base. Subsections below are provided if you want to use them, or just write them in a paragraph

Part of the technical and safety observation equipment during the CHILL-ICE missions was provided by Dutch-based company Blinkinglights.
Physical training procedures with BORP, one of the two types of analogue astronaut space suits that were tested during the research campaign of CHILL-ICE II.

Scientific facilities

Permanent lab facilities etc

Technical systems

Any details about power, water, ventilation etc

EVA systems and environment

Spacesuits and rovers, any permanent EVA equipment. As much detail about the EVA environment (geology, topology) as you like.


Besides the analogue astronaut missions, there have been several preparations and outreach campaigns before and after several of the CHILL-ICE missions as well. For a full overview of the missions, see table below:

Missions overview
Mission Crew Start date Location Duration
Scouting Campaign Marc Heemskerk, Alexander Zaklinsky, Bernard Foing, Anna Sitnikova, Benjamin Pothier 2 September 2018 Vesturland/

Suðurnes/ Raufarhólshellir

Envoy Campaign Marc Heemskerk, Charlotte Pouwels, Eibhlín Downes, Tom van Renterghem 28 June 2020 Reykjavík,


CHILL-ICE Luna Commander: Christian Cardinaux (Switzerland)

Lead Scientist: David James Smith (Scotland/UK) Chief Engineer: Agnieszka Elwertowska (Poland) Back-up: Benjamin Pothier (France)

29 July 2021 Stefánshellir 56 hours
CHILL-ICE Lava Commander: Sabrina Kerber (Germany)

Lead Scientist: Mohamad Wahidi (Lebanon) Chief Engineer: Susan Christianen (Netherlands/Iceland) Back-up: Sebasthian Ogalde (Chile)

2 August 2021 Stefánshellir 55 hours
Explorer's Forum Space Iceland, ICEE.Space 3 December 2021 Húsavík -
CHILL-ICE II Commander: Malica Schmidt (Germany)
Lead Scientist: Alejandro Goméz-San Juan (Spain)

Chief Engineer: Cody Ball (USA)
Back-up: Ultan McCaffrey (Ireland)

Back-up: Alaíne Lee (Ireland)Back-up: Margot Issertine (France)||Research Campaign:10 August 2022Simulation start: 22 August 2022

Fagradalsfjall/BergþórshellirSurtshellir 7 days
CHILL-ICE III t.b.a. August 2024 14 days

Typical mission profile

Any info you want to provide about the typical operations of a mission, timelines, EVA etc


Additional specifications of the living environment during the mission:

  • Habitable volume: XXm3
  • Number of solar cells: 2 - 4 378W PV-cells
  • Electrical power: 2 kWh solar charged battery
  • Peak load: 1800 W
  • Total analogue astronaut simulations - 3
  • Total campaigns - 6