Vitra caleidoscope

Vitra caleidoscope

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Residences et al. Chapter 5: Homes in space are oddities?

Image above: Photo-collage with the help of:

The exploration of other planets is already a reality, not just an endeavor. Robotic vessels travelled up to Pluto, reaching its surface but human ambition and curiosity do not stop there. The colonization of planets -(not just with current space stations for experiments), designed to actually host civilians-not in scientific centers/ shelters but in habitats- will reach the next level the decades post 2020. Thus includes intersection of many advanced technologies, supported by the human, emotional intelligence to actually create something out of nothing: this is what we refer to as avant-garde.   

Planet Earth continues to be regarded as the ultimate platform for the most extravagant or alien – residential, architectural attempts: our real and only home,  that provides for us, in order to design and build suitable houses for humans. Soon enough though, because of human negligence and ill will, our blue planet is getting to a crucial point, regarding  its survival. Which are the biggest myths about finding a way to install housing units in other planets, once we reach them, explore them and colonize them? Here is a short account of some actual issues and facts on building houses in space, now- at a glance: 

1. We are accustomed of seeing igloo-shaped constructions in major Hollywood films, as the temporary residences of the heroes-astronauts. The truth is though, that a home in space in a reachable planet like Moon, Mars or even Jupiter will be designed to be subterranean, almost entirely- to avoid the effects of radiation on its occupants and also to use energy from geothermal or other forms of fossil, subsoil sources. Solar energy can not be considered as adequate or such, for instance after Jupiter, we cannot count on solar panels for energy, since solar power drops significantly because of the Sun distance). 

2. Water recycling is fundamental and totally achievable, up to 95%, since all the known planets in our system do not have drinkable water. Water is also heavy to carry in an expedition, therefore ergonomically non-feasible because of disposables (bottles, containers etc). In a space residence all water consumption is done and recycled as clear, drinkable, usable water by current, toilet-filtering, super advanced technology- already applied in the space station located on the Moon.  Fecal matter is equally recycled and managed as solid waste, with NASA still searching for more sustainable future solutions  to the subject.  

3. Throughout history, engineers, designers and architects, had to struggle with the transport of really heavy construction materials for buildings. In space there is no gravity, so while the mass remains unaltered, weight drops to 1/3 of its equivalent on earth. Smart architecture in space has an extra facility, the fact that levers and cranes  for huge weights are not really needed.  

4. Physical and mental well-being are very important for every resident of a contemporary home. In space, applications for self-diagnosis are already established, in order to prevent health conditions (provided that the hospital is not exactly at close range!). Micro-cultivations in vitro are also possible in the space home of the future, since the portion-control food supply in space is highly nutritious to say the least- but Spartan for the time being. 

5. Refraction and defraction of light on earth, change dramatically once you live in outer space. The lighting design of a residence on a different planet is also a challenge, since once in universe's total darkness the light source does NOT diffuse at all and the light positioning inside and outside the space residence needs to be thoughtfully planned. 

So, what do you think? Are you ready to relocate? -)) 

Warmest regards* 


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