Influence, or power, or status. Defend ourselves. When we think about space travel, we think of rockets, satellites, astronaut suits, Tintin, landing on the moon, and nations flexing their muscles. DSTART believes that traveling through the unpredictable and hostile Cosmos demands a radically different design: they think of evolution and growth, adaptation and development.

Find out the future

Traveling through the unpredictable and hostile cosmos demands a different way of thinking. When traveling through the Cosmos, Angelo Vermeulen of DSTART (TU Delft Starship Team) thinks of evolution and growth, adaptation and development. Vermeulen is an artist, biologist and researcher of future space exploration concepts. He does not do this alone. Just as termites cooperate in nature, Vermeulen believes in the power of co-creation. For BredaPhoto he collaborated with Nils Faber, Anton Dobrevski, Amélie Kim, Joris Putteneers, Sharon van Rijthoven, Arise Wan and Jasper Wennekendonk.


DSTART aims to critically explore ideologies underpinning space exploration paradigms, and tries to propose alternative concepts. In TU Delft’s multidisciplinary Starship Team (with engineers, scientists, architects and artists), solutions are sought without a preconceived plan, starting from ‘creative chaos’. The project motto: from creative chaos to interstellar spaceship. Biology is their inspiration. But mathematics and innovative technology are also used.

Interstellar ecosystem

An exploration outside our solar system is dangerous and unpredictable. There are unforeseen challenges and problems that we do not (yet) know from the Earth. The idea is that the starship itself must be able to adapt autonomously to new circumstances. Just as an embryo can develop with the material that is available, their spaceships can physically grow and evolve during the journey, with material from space – printed in 3D. Gradually, an internal ecosystem is growing. Video animations show the result of computer simulations and show us how the starship looks like.

Vermeulen is convinced that systems must develop from the bottom up: “Self-organisation, decentralised power and a strong participatory system play an essential role in finding solutions to these uncertain times.” Possibly, this way of thinking could be very useful for our future here, on our Earth…? In this way, the work can broaden our view on space travel, but also makes us think about tackling problems in society, closer to home.