There is no doubt that the next ambitious space program, to which the global scientific and technical community will contribute, is the development of space habitats for long-term use. Therefore, we have to design experimental setups to develop and test aspects that contribute to such a livable space habitat.

Designing space habitats on Earth faces at least five fundamental challenges for long-term space exploration: simulation of artificial gravity, development of efficient radiation protection, design of sustainable nutrition, development of infrastructure on-site with (scarce) available resources under extreme environmental conditions and finding cost-efficient solutions.


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Hagerbach Test Gallery allows simulating conditions to test and develop solutions for all five fundamental challenges on different scales.

Examples include:

  • the creation of centrifugal effects for artificial gravity
  • textile tests to prove radiation protection
  • underground farming for sustainable nutrition
  • and providing test fields for robots for space habitat exploration

Current activities

Mars Habitat Challenge

The Hagerbach Test Gallery seeks innovative startups to create solutions for the ambitious concept of habitation on Mars or other celestial bodies.

Solutions encompass products/services facilitating sustainable living conditions on Mars, spanning construction, energy, environmental management, health, transportation, food production, and communication.

The overarching objective is to establish a self-sufficient habitat guided by circular economy principles.

More about the challenge.

Mission Earth First

The Hagerbach Test Gallery serves as a founding partner of Mission Earth First, an initiative focused on bridging underground and outer space environments. Mission Earth First boasts a robust multi-disciplinary partner network, collectively embodying expertise in innovation, inspiration, and the demonstration of underground spaces.

Collaborating with new partners from the space industry, our goal is to discover innovative approaches to enhance the resilience, sustainability, and future readiness of life on Earth and future space missions.

More about Mission Earth First.

ESA BIC Switzerland

The Hagerbach Test Gallery is a testing ground and one of the partners of a broad network who help supporting ESA BIC Switzerland. The ESA Business Incubation Centre Switzerland (ESA BIC CH) is a nationwide initiative powered by the European Space Agency (ESA) and one of the world’s leading universities: ETH Zurich.

More about ESA BIC Switzerland.

Underground Green Farming

The SCAUT project 'Underground Green Farming' addresses the development challenge of food security by growing food underground. Utilizing underground spaces ensures stable climate conditions, eliminating the need for extensive cooling or heating.

Additionally, sustainable closed-loop technologies enable efficient water recycling, resulting in a significantly lower CO2 footprint compared to conventional farming methods above ground or in greenhouses.

More about the SCAUT project Underground Green Farming.


Robotic technologies, like remote-controlled vehicles or autonomous devices, have great potential for use in real-world situations, especially in surveillance and post-disaster scenarios. These technologies can assist rescue workers by providing effective solutions while reducing their risks. However, developing robots suitable for rescue work requires meeting specific criteria such as durability, speed, versatility, and ease of use, which current robots may not fully address.

Hagerbach provides the infrastructure and controlled environment to support the development of robots in a near-real-scale setting. The Hagerbach Test Gallery offers space for, e.g., ground and indoor aerial robots, marine systems, and testing human-robot interfaces, evaluating how well they meet the needs of extreme conditions."

Example of a current Robotics test:
Together with ETH Zurich, ANYbotics used their four-legged robots ANYmal to autonomously explore our tunnel system. It made a significant contribution to the CERBERUS team winning first place in the Darpa Subterranean Challenge! 

More at the underground future lab:

Energy Solutions

This includes circular and renewable production, transformation, on-site storage, distribution of energy / heat and in the focus areas “City” and “Construction Sites”


Smart City

This includes food and industrial engineering and production, water capture and storage and usage (‚sponge city’), ICT / IOT edge computing


Underground and heavy construction

This includes all research on how infrastructures of the future can be constructed and operated in a circular way with low energy use and minimum emission from the design over construction to de-commissioning.