How is technology still building our future home in space

Stephen Hawking says that a thousand years from now we will have, the human race, which leaves our “fragile planet”. Javi Sánchez made us a review this morning of the major proposals of science fiction when it comes to live in space. Each and every one of them is spectacular, but has a problem of astronomical dimensions is impossible to perform with current technology.

At the moment we do not know but there are proposals on the table are far more realistic than they propose from the always spectacular prism of science fiction. Still have to live in one of those intergalactic ships, but hey, maybe we can go camping (no guaranteed return) to one of the nearby land within the “little” planets.

X Hab, this is the House in the space that imagine NASA

We have all experienced at some point in our lives any experience with inflatable buildings. Well small riding on a bouncy castle or accompanying some kid to play within them. They are not the safest structures in the world, but we must recognize that they are easy to assemble. Precisely for this reason NASA launched a contest in 2010 to build houses in the space.

With a prize of $ 48,000, X Hab became one of the most ambitious in developing a house for space projects. The aim was to create a habitable module that also could be coupled to the structure of the ships of the space agency of the United States. What began as a challenge to students has ended up turning into a future project feasible in the short term.

Years pass and illustration that seemed more appropriate for a school book had the first prototypes. Bounce houses where a couple of people could live for a while: a module to enter and remove dust from the outside, a central place where you can live and of course hygiene module to cover such needs. To all this we must add an energy source that is responsible for supplying the project from NASA.

In five years, the project has evolved greatly and today is taking a new call in 2015 to present new ideas related to X Hab. It has been made several test phases in 2013 but obviously on earth with no conditions are the same as those we might find on other planets so the validity is somewhat questionable.

Not a interspatial ship or a large colony where thousands of people would live but for now meets as a project to allow a small group of astronauts can live in the future on the surface of another planet. Today you know that colonize planets and live in them is impossible, even on planets as close as the moon or Mars, Rover and time are the company who are preparing us in the field.

Living on Mars is not all bad, said Elon Musk

Elon Musk has earned fame with Tesla and its electric cars but many of you know that is not the only business at hand. SpaceX has been postulated as the most powerful when it comes to conquer space and offer private initiative to astronauts in orbit. Recently we saw how were already preparing a manned vehicle to begin the first tests.

However Musk ambition is immense, so much so that once came to affirm that we colonize the moon and Mars when we, really, want to. A full-scale cracking and has made more than one the truth of these words is in doubt. Life on a planet where it is necessary to make an eight months and the conditions that dwell there are really hostile?

For a brief review of the “technical specifications” of the Red Planet: gravity is 3.71 m / s² (in land value is 9.78 m / s ²), of Mars dust is corrosive, it is electrically charged and also chlorine is toxic to soil our thyroid gland. Not the best neighborhood to go live. The moon is another story and some see our natural satellite favorably to exploit natural resources such as titanium and helium 3.

While agree to advance this dream, Elon Musk and Robert Bigelow (owner of the hotel chain Budget Suites of America) used one of the ships of Space X to send the ISS to test an inflatable module. The objective of the entrepreneur is to create a space hotel that can be used both for tourism and for scientific purposes use it for different investigations inside. We look forward to 2015.


The houses are nice but how we will live in them?

Okay, let’s assume for a moment that any of the projects we’ve seen so far comes to fruition. We managed to set up a home on the moon which at least two people to live for a long stay. What happens to the most basic needs such as eating? Initially two alternatives being considered in this regard.

On the one hand that sent food each time to cater to the resident astronauts. Given that today is not easy to send a ship to a planet that is again taking off things get complicated if you do not want to fill the surface remains of vehicles and engines of all kinds, but at least they could be recycled.

Returning to the food, we have is of the typical meal prepared for consumption in space to 3D printers that can print food look and taste more suggestive than the products prepared exclusively to cover the most basic nutrients. Yes, at least soon will enjoy a freshly brewed coffee. Another option is the food crops. A very interesting possibility, but it involves a number of difficulties: lack of sunlight, temperature, oxygen, lack of gravity, that what is grown is suitable for our consumption… NASA says there are a few candidates survive in these conditions: lettuce, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, onions, peppers, strawberries…

In fact, recently there have been tests to grow lettuce in ISS. Once harvested, they will be frozen and sent back to earth to perform a series of tests and check that you can eat without suffering any problems. Carnivores were going to spend a little bad but if successful will be no excuse for not eating fresh foods.

A spatial moving of no return

On the other hand we have everything related to health problems. It is shown that astronauts who spend some time in zero gravity or low end up losing bone density which ultimately results in different types of injuries. We recently saw how it was developing a special kind of footwear that allow the future exercises with little gravity to continue to keep the muscles hard and no bones weaken with the passage of time in space. What we saw was just a prototype though.

Then we are more mundane aspects such as activities to do once we are on the moon or Mars. In the vision proposed by science fiction we can do everything: take an ordinary life as on earth, enjoy the latest technology of the time and even fight with alien races of all sizes and colors. The stark reality is that today only were going to do research work or spend time as best we can with rather limited resources. Given that there are also projects to settle on a planet are not return more than one would end up thinking twice, but no shortage of volunteers.

So far the development of space remains more a land of fiction and although there are projects on the table there are still many other issues to resolve because not only it is raising houses designed to withstand conditions beyond planet earth, we must also ensure a supply of basic resources to live. We still have to wait many years to leave our fragile planet.

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