Alcohol in Space?
Author: Lukasz Wilczynski
Co-founder European Space Foundation | Originator of the European Rover Challenge project. Experienced dot-connector and communication consultant specialising in technology and innovation.
This interview first featured on the European Space Foundation website
Author: Tobias Leach
3rd Year Medical Student | University of Bristol | Passionate about space!
Space provides boundless opportunities for human existence and innumerable threats to human health.
The question is, are we yet prepared to deal with a catastrophic event, such as a cardiac arrest in space?
To gain an understanding of the current state of CPR in microgravity with a focus on chest compressions in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest onboard.
An Ovid Medline search was conducted: 17 articles were found; 12 were excluded; six additional articles were found in the references of the remaining five articles, bringing the total number of articles included to 11. These were then critically analysed.
No CPR method currently reaches the European Resuscitation Council (ERC) guidelines. The Handstand (HS) method appears to be the strongest. Evetts-Russomano (ER) is the second strongest method. Automatic chest compression device (ACCD) performed consistently well.
CPR appears to be far more difficult in microgravity. Inconsistencies in research methodology do not help. The ER method should be used as a first contact method and the HS method should be used once the casualty is restrained. An ACCD should be considered as part of the medical equipment. Further research is needed, directly comparing all positions under the same conditions.
Breathing in Space
Author: Paul Zilberman MD
I was born in 1960.
As a child I was thrilled to witness the first man in space, as per stories, in those years a direct TV transmission was still a dream. And even if it had been possible, I was one year of age, so…
But later on, I was able to see the launch of the Apollo missions and the common US-Soviet programs Soyuz- Apollo.
As many other terrestrials I was thrilled to watch, both from distance and close up, those “white pencils” with the painting of “The United States of America” climbing faster and faster, leaving behind a huge ball of fire… Then the first carrying rocket segment detaching and falling back to Earth…
I was amazed seeing how only after a short time those “people out there” were floating and smiling, waving their hands and telling us everything is ok.
I was reading about the many experiments that were carried out during the flights, I was even able to look now and then at the flight path, little understanding what were the sinusoidal lines appearing on the huge Command Center screen, where so many people were sitting in front of the computers with the microphones and earpieces connected. I didn’t understand then, exactly, why so many people were dealing with so few in space.
Well, time went on, Skylab appeared, then the ISS, the shuttles…wow…all in a lifetime.
As time went on and understanding grew, on top of my medical school and, later on, anaesthesia residency, other questions arose: how do the astronauts eat, drink, wash, use the toilets? And many other daily mundane things we take for granted down here.
Modern medicine is all about numbers. Not in the dry sense of how many patients we see or haw many beds a hospital has; that’s the headache of the medical administrators. In my education “numbers” are pressures, concentrations, volumes etc.
One question I was asking myself for a long time was how the astronauts breathe in those confined spaces for such long periods of time. After all you have several people in a closed artificial environment. Exactly like in the submarines, but with a critical difference. A submarine can produce its needed oxygen by water hydrolysis; and usually there’s plenty of it in the oceans. In case of problems a submarine can surface, problem solved.
Not so in space. And here come into play those numbers: how much oxygen an astronaut needs, how many astronauts are in that space, how much CO2 is produced, how it is removed, and how is oxygen produced when, think of it, you don’t have it around the spaceship or station. Metabolic issues are studied to the tiniest detail, and experience is gathered with every new mission. In many fields.
I would like to bring here only one aspect: the removal of CO2. This text is not intended to explain in detail all the process, but just to make the reader raise a brow and say “I never thought of that”! And open his appetite to search for more.
The CO2 we produce is related to many physiological factors. Once exhaled it needs to be taken away from our faces, otherwise we inhale it back, a process known in anaesthesiology (and not only) as “rebreathing”. Think of this specific issue in space where there is no wind to wash away the CO2 from your face. Well, another problem, the need for cabin fans to circulate the air.
The removal of CO2 and the whole chemical reactions used in order to clean the closed environment of this gas while retaining the oxygen is energy dependent and follows several chemical steps. The whole process is known as “The Sabatier reaction”, from the name of one of the two French chemists that discovered it in 1897, Paul Sabatier and Jean-Baptiste Sendersen.
The moment I got closer to one other way of CO2 removal in space was when I read, post factum, of the almost tragedy of Apollo-13. A faulty contact in the transport module produced an explosion. The astronauts were forced to move quickly to the lunar module but…the CO2 absorbent filters there were not enough to remove enough CO2 in order to keep them alive till return to Earth. Well, you are invited to read the whole story.
But on this occasion, I learned about the LiOH based CO2 filters. The chemical reaction is the same as for any -OH based CO2 absorbent used in the anaesthesia machines only that, at least as a theoretical chemical calculation, their absorbent capacity on a CO2 volume/unit of absorbent mass can go up to five times more than what is commonly used in operating rooms (ORs).
The contribution of a special technology that preserves the spatial configuration of the absorbent helps to prevent a mechanical process called “channeling” that further reduces the lifetime of the other absorbents. Recently, with the Li prices going up, most probably due to its use in electric car batteries, the LiOH absorbent became financially non-competitive. However, the technology of maintaining that spatial configuration was kept. It is used today in the production of the same CO2 absorbents but with CaOH as the active substance. The absorbent is manufactured as cartridges, each type fitting a special anaesthesia machine. It may seem like a drawback, but if we consider the longer lifetime, the almost non-existent dust producing issue, the ease of replacing them, by the end of the day it may be a step forward in making our existing ORs more efficient in all respects.
All that is happening in the space confined “piece of Earth out there” is in fact human activity and use of resources to the maximum. In anaesthesiology we call it “closed circuit”.
The same way we use our experience on Earth to preserve life in space, we can do the reverse, help preserve, or at least improve life here based on the experience gathered from the space missions.
It all depends on us.
Health Challenges in Space...
Author: Rohan Krishnan
Undergraduate, Bachelor of Science - Statistics & Healthcare Management | The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
In 1955, Walt Disney’s “Mars and Beyond” pondered human survival in extraterrestrial environments. The narrator envisions the colonisation of Mars as a feasible reality: a future where cities are encased in pressurised domes on the Red Planet to combat overpopulation and the depletion of natural resources on Earth.
Today, NASA’s Artemis Mission plans to return astronauts to the moon by 2025, this time with an eye toward lunar colonization and human exploration of Mars. The boundaries that once constrained human space exploration are shattering, as technological advancements and ambitious government space programs bring plans for travel to Mars closer to reality. Beyond government space agencies, private companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX are innovating to create faster, more efficient aircraft and bring space travel to the masses through commercial flights. As astronauts inch toward deep space missions, understanding the general health risks of long-distance space travel, as well as the varied conditions between environments, is crucial.
Missions to the International Space Station (ISS) and in low Earth orbit (LEO) have uncovered a variety of consequences for astronaut health, including bone loss, muscle atrophy, and a weakened immune system, amongst others. Radiation, microgravity, the distance from Earth, isolation, and the hostile environment inside spacecraft are the root causes behind the health issues that astronauts experience in space. Space exploration is vital for advancing life on Earth. Future missions across our solar system can help us understand the effects of microgravity and radiation on biological systems, locate valuable natural resources, and even combat overpopulation by exploring space colonisation. Given this need, ensuring the health of humans in space is the bedrock for further discovery.
In this blog, I will describe the significant health challenges associated with with spending time in LEO and on long-distance spaceflight to the Moon and Mars. I have narrowed the focus to the following branches of medicine, to outline and contrast the particular health issues between LEO and long-distance spaceflight: cardiology, ophthalmology, and neurology. Many of the health concerns associated with time spent in LEO persist during long-distance space travel, but there are also challenges specific to the Moon and Mars stemming from their unique environmental characteristics, such as the presence of regolith and varying radiation levels. Understanding these general and environment-specific health concerns will inform planning as we venture deeper into space.
The vast majority of human spaceflight has occurred within low Earth orbit (LEO), with the notable exception of the Apollo program’s lunar missions. All manned space stations, including the ISS, are in LEO. As a result, for more than two decades, countless experiments have been conducted on the ISS to understand how astronauts’ health is impacted in LEO.
Researchers studying the health of astronauts aboard the ISS have uncovered that long-term travel in LEO has notable effects on astronauts’ cardiovascular health. According to Dr. Thais Russomano, a leading expert on space medicine, the absence of Earth’s gravitational force in space causes bodily fluids and blood to shift from the legs and lower abdomen toward the upper torso and head. This phenomenon - referred to as ‘puffy-face and bird-legs syndrome’ - causes swelling in the face and head while reducing astronauts’ circulating blood volume and heart size. As less blood is pumped by the heart in microgravity, astronauts endure muscle loss in the heart, placing them at risk for cardiovascular deconditioning and cardiac myocyte atrophy.
Radiation is another significant concern impacting astronauts’ cardiovascular health. Aboard the ISS, radiation from galactic cosmic rays, solar cosmic rays, and particles from the Van Allen radiation belts are of primary concern. Astronauts are exposed to roughly 40-times more millisieverts of radiation compared to people on Earth. Exposure to space radiation over long-term missions increases astronauts’ risk for cancer and cardiovascular diseases, although effective shielding and radiation shelters aboard spacecraft have helped mitigate those risks.
Cardiovascular issues resulting from microgravity and radiation exposure over long periods aboard the ISS can follow astronauts well after returning to Earth. Some studies have determined that astronauts’ arterial blood pressure decreased throughout space missions due to the loss in circulating blood volume, although there could be many causes behind this change. Similarly, the reduction in circulating blood volume can cause orthostatic intolerance - the inability to stand due to lightheadedness or fainting - once astronauts return to Earth. Although radiation exposure and microgravity cause cardiovascular problems in space, studies on astronaut mortality have concluded that astronauts are at a lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases relative to the general population on Earth.
The effects of bodily fluid shifting in microgravity extend beyond ‘puffy-face and bird-legs syndrome’, with consequences for the eyes. Following a six-month mission to the ISS in 2005, astronaut John Phillips’s perfect vision was found to have deteriorated due to spaceflight-associated neuro-ocular syndrome (SANS). SANS is formerly known as visual impairment and intracranial pressure (VIIP) syndrome, although the name was updated to reflect the uncertainty over whether increased intracranial pressure is the sole cause of the condition. One explanation is that SANS is caused by cerebrospinal fluid shifting toward the head, increasing intracranial pressure, particularly at eye level. The pressure causes the back of the eye to flatten, resulting in a hyperopic shift and blurred vision.
According to a report from the British Journal of Anaesthesia, a questionnaire of 300 astronauts found that 28% of short-duration mission astronauts and 60% of long-duration mission astronauts experienced degradation of visual acuity. A study of seven long-duration mission ISS astronauts and nine short-duration mission space shuttle astronauts found that the long-duration astronauts had significantly greater post-flight flattening when compared with the short-duration astronauts. Given the increased severity of SANS on long-duration missions, understanding causes and possible treatments are vital for exploration in and beyond LEO.
Microgravity has notable effects on the nervous system, particularly due to the redistribution of bodily fluids in space. Neuroimaging scans show that astronauts’ brains have increased ventricular volumes following long-distance spaceflight. As fluids shift toward the upper torso and head during long-term exposure to microgravity, the volume of cerebrospinal fluid collected in the brain’s ventricles increases, resulting in ventricular expansion. Ventricular expansion could be a possible cause of SANS and may be linked to premature ageing of the brain. One study found that astronauts who spent 12 months in space displayed larger changes in ventricular volume than astronauts who spent 6 months in space, suggesting important implications for long-duration space missions.
The microgravity-induced fluid shift is also associated with alterations to white matter in astronauts’ brains. A study from the journal Science Advances reports that cosmonauts displayed increased white matter in the cerebellum following long-duration spaceflight, with white matter volume returning to roughly pre-flight levels seven months after spaceflight. The cerebellum handles fine motor control, postural balance, and oculomotor control, and white matter changes associated with spaceflight may offer evidence for motor system neuroplasticity. Various studies are employing different techniques to evaluate white matter changes due to spaceflight, which could affect other neurological functions including visual and sensory processing.
The health issues associated with LEO are also relevant for long-distance space travel. However, there are also environment-specific challenges unique to the Moon and Mars - such as high levels of space radiation and varying magnitudes of microgravity - that will be of primary concern to astronauts. Various studies simulate deep space environments to predict the effects of long-distance spaceflight on human health, informing mitigation strategies to keep astronauts safe.
In deep space, the microgravity environment induces similar cardiovascular effects to what astronauts experience in LEO. Blood and bodily fluids shift toward the upper torso and head resulting in ‘puffy-face and bird-legs syndrome’, while the decreased cardiac workload can lead to cardiovascular deconditioning. However, relative to the gravitational force in LEO of approximately 0.95g, the Moon’s gravitational force is 0.16g while Mars’ gravitational force is 0.36g. It is unclear whether varied microgravity conditions will produce additional cardiovascular effects beyond those studied in LEO, however, fluid shifts and cardiovascular deconditioning remain significant concerns.
Radiation-induced cardiovascular disease is another major challenge with traveling to the Moon and Mars. Compared to missions in LEO, the space radiation environment beyond LEO exposes astronauts to higher dose rates of HZE particles, the high-energy heavy ions of galactic cosmic rays. HZE particles are highly penetrating and can cause secondary radiation when interacting with shielding in spacecraft or spacesuits. According to the journal Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine, high doses of HZE particles over long-term deep space missions can lead to myocardial remodelling and fibrosis, potentially resulting in heart failure. While current shielding technology may protect astronauts in LEO, the power of HZE radiation makes more advanced shielding essential to protect astronauts in deep space.
Considering the microgravity-induced fluid shifts that astronauts experience in deep space, SANS remains a primary concern for missions to the Moon and Mars. SANS is typically studied on long-duration missions, although astronauts have reported blurred vision after only two weeks aboard the ISS. A mission to Mars would take up to 20 months and would require astronauts to encounter multiple gravity fields. The long duration and complex gravity shifts associated with deep space missions could cause more challenging SANS-related ocular issues compared to those faced by astronauts in LEO. The concerns surrounding radiation beyond LEO extend to ocular health. Galactic cosmic radiation has been linked to the development of phosphenes and cataracts, while studies show that repetitive spaceflights and high-radiation-dose exposure increase the prevalence of both conditions among astronauts. Considering the high volume of HZE radiation that deep space astronauts will be exposed to, the development of phosphenes and cataracts is of major concern for their ocular health.
Previous studies have sought to evaluate the effects of space radiation on the human brain by delivering radiation doses to rodents over a few minutes. However, on missions to the Moon and Mars, powerful radiation will be gradually delivered to astronauts for the duration of the trip, ranging from weeks to years. A 2019 study from the journal eNeuro aims to more accurately simulate long-duration exposure by delivering low-level neutron radiation to mice for six months and evaluating the neurological implications. The study finds that exposure to cosmic rays impairs the brain function of the mice, affecting learning, memory, and mood. Lab tests reveal that following the neutron radiation, neurons are less responsive in the hippocampus - an area critical for the formation of memories and spatial navigation - and the medial prefrontal cortex - an area responsible for accessing preexisting memories, decision-making, and processing social information. Follow-up evaluations of the irradiated mice determine that neural circuitry damage may last for up to one year.
Some researchers dispute the study’s approach, claiming that neutron radiation used in the experiment is not a viable surrogate for the galactic cosmic radiation that astronauts would encounter during deep space missions. Still, the eNeuro study offers a novel analogue to the gradual doses of powerful space radiation that astronauts would face on missions to the Moon and Mars, further emphasising the importance of effective shielding from cosmic rays. Researchers are also studying how microglia - the immune cells of the central nervous system - can be manipulated to prevent the development of cognitive deficits due to galactic cosmic ray exposure, a promising step toward protecting astronauts on deep space missions.
Motivated government leaders and entrepreneurs alike have expressed their commitment to bringing the human race beyond low Earth orbit. As breakthroughs in deep space research and aerospace technology bring this goal closer to realisation, concomitant advancements in space medicine must be made to safeguard astronauts’ health as they travel to and thrive in extraterrestrial environments. Before we can walk on Mars, our first step must be understanding and mitigating the health challenges that await us deeper into the final frontier.
Author: The InnovaSpace Team
Space Without Borders!
InnovaSpace CEO Thais Russomano recently contributed an article to the magazine - Asian Hospital & Healthcare Management - examining the challenges humankind faces if we are to spend more time in space. It gives a good overview of the topic without being too technical and is open access, so we thought you might like to take a look!
The article features on pages 6-9 of the magazine and you can download the magazine free by following this LINK
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a well-established part of basic life support (BLS), having saved countless lives since its first development in the 1960s. External chest compressions (ECCs), which form the main part of BLS, must be carried out until Advanced Life Support can begin. It is essential that ECCs are performed to the correct depth and frequency to guarantee effectiveness. The absence of gravity during spaceflight means that performing ECCs is more challenging.
The likelihood of a dangerous cardiac event occurring during a space mission is remote, however, the possibility does exist. Nowadays, the selection process for space missions considers individuals at ages and with health standards that would have prohibited their selection in the past. With increased age, less stringent health requirements, longer duration missions and increased physical labour, due to a rise in orbital extravehicular activity, the risk of an acute life-threatening condition occurring in space has become of greater concern. The advent of space tourism may even enhance this possibility, with its popularity set to rise over the coming years as private companies test their new technology.
Therefore, space scientists and physicians will have a greater responsibility to ensure space travellers, whether professional astronauts or space tourists, are adequately trained and familiarised with extraterrestrial BLS and CPR methods. Recently, work has been undertaken to develop methods of basic and advanced life support in microgravity and hypogravity, and several CPR techniques have been developed and tested. This blog presents one of these, the Evetts-Russomano MicroG CPR Method.
Evetts-Russomano MicroG CPR Method
In the Evetts-Russomano (ER) method, the rescuer can respond immediately, as it requires no additional CPR equipment/medication or the use of a restraint system. To assume the position, the rescuer places their left leg over the right shoulder of the patient and their right leg around the patient’s torso, allowing their ankles to be crossed approximately in the centre of the patient’s back; this is to provide stability and a solid platform against which to deliver force, without the patient being pushed away. From this position, chest compressions can be performed while still retaining easy access to perform ventilation. When adopting the ER CPR method, the rescuer must be situated in a manner that also allows sufficient space on the patient’s chest for the correct positioning of their hands to deliver the chest compressions.
Extraterrestrial CPR simulation
The main difference between extraterrestrial and terrestrial CPR is the strength of the gravitational field. In microgravity, patient and rescuer are both essentially weightless. When thinking about the technique of terrestrial CPR, with the rescuer accelerating their chest and upper body to generate a force to compress the patient’s chest, it is obvious that this cannot work in microgravity without significant aids. To this end, the ER CPR method has been developed using a ground-based microG simulation, during parabolic flights, and subsequently tested under-water!
Ground-based MicroG Simulation (land) = Space Researcher Lucas Rehnberg, MD (MicroG Center PUCRS, Brazil)
Parabolic Flight MicroG Simulation (air)= Researchers = Thais Russomano, Simon Evetts, Lisa Evetts & João Castro (ESA 29th Parabolic Flight Campaign, Bordeaux, France)
Underwater MicroG Simulation (water) = Sea King Dive Center, Chengdu, China - Instructor Gang Wei;
Chinese Space First Responder & Space Researcher/Instructor Chris Yuan
A project of InnovaSpace, PECA and Guangxi Diving Paradise Club, China
Free Resource: Extraterrestrial CPR and Its Applications in Terrestrial Medicine
Authors: Thais Russomano, Lucas Rehnberg
In book: Resuscitation Aspects, Ed: Theodoros Aslanidis
Publisher: IntechOpen 2017
See Download Link at https://www.innovaspace.org/chapters.html
Mergulho no Treinamento de Astronautas
Instrutora de mergulho livre, mergulho autônomo e mergulhadora em formação no mergulho profissional raso LinkedIn Profile
O mergulho faz parte de uma série de habilidades para quem busca a carreira astronáutica. Por quê?
A água é cerca de 800 vezes mais densa que o ar, o que dificulta a movimentação subaquática, exigindo além de mais esforço, uma movimentação mais lenta para evitar fadiga que pode levar mergulhadores inexperientes a até abortar o mergulho.
Além disso, a flutuabilidade neutra, ou seja, a capacidade de "boiar" na água permite que o praticante tenha a sensação semelhante à da microgravidade.
Para fazer uso da flutuabilidade neutra como treinamento, as agências espaciais têm usado, ao longo dos anos, laboratórios subaquáticos como o NBL (Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory), localizado em Houston, no Texas, Estados Unidos e que faz parte do complexo da NASA. Segundo a NASA, possui 61,21 metros de comprimento, 30,90 de largura e 12,12 metros de profundidade e permite treinamentos como caminhadas espaciais, comunicação e segurança, além de permitir testes com equipamentos de vídeo e trajes espaciais.
Na ESA (Agência Espacial Europeia), em Colônia, Alemanha, os astronautas são certificados no nível de mergulhadores de resgate. Esse conhecimento, segundo a ESA, permite melhor desempenho dos astronautas nas caminhadas espaciais e permite que previnam problemas e saibam lidar com emergências de modo adequado.
De acordo com a NASA, os astronautas utilizam nitrox (mistura de nitrogênio com uma porcentagem maior de oxigênio, também conhecido como ar enriquecido no mergulho) durante as sessões de treinamento no NBL.
No mergulho dependente saturado não há perda de ar, nem se solta bolhas, como ocorre no mergulho recreativo. Todo o material exalado durante um mergulho saturado, que pode ir até 320 metros de profundidade, é recaptado, reciclado, para depois ser usado novamente na respiração. Isso ocorre porque o gás em questão, além do oxigênio, é o hélio, que tem um custo bastante elevado.
Our thanks go to space enthusiast Ermis Divinis, aged 11, who used his digital media skills to create this fun summary of the Mars rovers, which have provided the scientific community with so much valuable data about the Red Planet. Enjoy!
European Space Foundation - ERC Coordinator & Inspiration Zone producer
We have been expanding our presence on Mars for several decades now, which involves trial missions, in-depth research, terrain checking, the first human landing on the surface of the Red Planet and the creation of a scientific base. Driven by curiosity and the desire to learn and expand the human possibilities of adapting to new living conditions, we decide to establish colonies on Mars.
The inhabitants of the new Martian city-states are not accidental. They were selected based on their health, intellectual and psychological abilities as well as the skills they will contribute to building a new society, drawing on the lessons learned from the mistakes made on Earth...
Warsaw, 4-6 March 2022
25 students, divided into interdisciplinary groups, begin working on the project of five Martian colonies. They include representatives of geology, law, architecture, design, and culture. Supported by mentors, they try to find answers to the following question: What location on Mars will be the most appropriate for their colony, considering the possibility of easy landing and take-off, access to a water source, as well as the scientific and soil-forming potential of the area?
In terms of architecture and design, they must remember about the impact of temperature, sandstorms, harmful radiation, and meteorite strikes, but also make sure the colonies are self-sufficient and provide shelter for thousands of people. Also in the spotlight are such important questions as: How will our senses react on Mars? What do we, as humans, need to survive in an extreme environment?
The Mars Colony Hackathon participants also discuss whether they want to transfer to Mars the current Earth culture as well as the economic and political status quo, or... on the contrary? Should they take the current trends in sustainability, climate change, inequality, diversity, and the impact of technology on people into account? What values, traditions and rituals will accompany them?
Another sol of 2077 begins.
There are already five colonies on Mars: IGNIS, MARIS, MONADA, M.O.D. AND WEST COAST COLONY. They are all self-sufficient, but willingly cooperate with one another and with Earth in the exchange of goods, know-how as well as education and tourism. They all signed a non-aggression pact.
Goods are transported by centrifugal force technology, and people move between colonies on sub-orbital rocket flights. In the close vicinity, inhabitants travel by rovers.
We visit the IGNIS colony, located in the Athabasca Valley in the Elysium Planitia region.
It arose from a research colony founded in the 2040s by the International Organisation whose inhabitants revolted and declared independence. The main IGNIS doctrine in international relations is not getting involved in the political affairs on Earth. Its inhabitants live in symbiosis with nature, and they base their sustainable development on science. They obtain water thanks from the nearby pingos, and their source of energy is a cosmic solar power plant in a geostationary orbit, sending energy in the form of high-frequency radio beams. The power plant has movable panels, which enable the plant to draw energy throughout the day and night. The inhabitants expect that at a later stage the development of the energy sector will be based on small modular reactors (SMR). The IGNIS system is a hybrid of the republic and direct democracy. Everything that is produced in the colony as well as all the tools and items that the inhabitants use belong to the republic and are used on a shared basis.
We continue our journey to visit the MARIS colony, located in Valles Marineris.
As a result of human activities on Earth, the climate crisis deepened, natural resources were depleted, and biodiversity was disappearing. In the social field, we were affected by wars, social inequality, discrimination, and polarisation. The human condition was also deteriorating because of loneliness and civilisation diseases. The founders of MARIS wanted to change that, so they decided to create their Martian colony – a new community based on responsibility and integrity of human beings with the planet, community, and themselves. The local habitat is famous for its hydroponic crops and baths with saunas. The community cares about good mood and mental health of every citizen, which ensures the proper functioning of the entire colony. Therefore, apart from integration, a common dining room, kitchen, or medical, educational and laboratory space, it places great emphasis on providing the inhabitants with private space. As guests, we are invited to one of the capsule-rooms that function as bedrooms. We immediately experience thermal comfort and silence. We can also regulate the amount of light. The whole room is finished with a soft material and there is a pleasant smell in the air...
Next sol we travel to the northernmost colony of MONADA, located between Mamers Valles and Deutronilus Mensae.
In some philosophical systems, a monad is a basic substance, on the one hand elemental, permeated with individuality, and on the other hand, rich in various types of capital. It gives almost unlimited development opportunities. The MONADA inhabitants treat their colony as an organism which, having a huge and varied potential, can not only develop independently, but also establish relationships with other entities in the world, which is a continuous collection of elementary substances.
Its architectural solutions are also based on spherical units, which are self-sufficient and independent in a crisis, but for the sake of proper functioning of the society they connect with one another to form a network. Each unit has the necessary sectors located on different levels: industry, food production, public utilities, such as hospitals, schools, and religious places, as well as housing. Light runs through each sphere from above and cascades across the room. The radial layout of rooms and internal space can be modified by moving the walls.
The colony has one of the largest deposits of magnesium-rich sulphur oxide and olivine as well as access to several rubble glaciers which constitute the source of water. MONADA sells its medicines, steel, solutions related to design and architecture, including modular furniture, “my personal sun” lamps, personalised “Martian wallpapers”, aromatic postcards from Mars as well as a patented circulation system and inter-colonial rover loading system both to the countries on Earth and the Martian colonies.
The next stop on our Martian journey is M.O.D. (Martian allotments), located in Dao Vallis.
It is an international, democratic colony, still dependent on the Earth for the supply of certain raw materials and resources.
It was built of modular segments created with a 3D printer and completely hidden under the surface of Martian regolith. The main element of the individual residential modules are internal allotments used for garden cultivation, experimenting, and relaxation. The colony focuses on simplicity and minimalism in limited Martian conditions, hence the white walls of the rooms and easy-to-modify segments. The virtual reality used in the colony, however, allows its inhabitants to create an environment that gives a sense of greater security, avatars, or everyday outfits to express themselves and their individual style. Special overalls worn by the inhabitants check their vital functions, hormone levels, and work-life balance simultaneously.
M.O.D. conducts intensive research to increase recyclability and the best possible use of limited Martian resources as well as to develop production and plantations that provide the colony with food and vital products.
The joint work of the M.O.D. inhabitants strengthen intergenerational ties, giving an opportunity for integration and talks. Each of the inhabitants undergoes compulsory training to be able to work in various sectors of the habitat if necessary.
WEST COAST COLONY, located in the Olympus Mont region, is the last stop of our trip.
Separation of powers, peaceful space exploration, cognition and science, high level of education, cooperation between humans and artificial intelligence, transhumanism, and bionics – these are the bases of its functioning.
The area chosen by the inhabitants for their colony is convenient not only in terms of living, but also for geological research. The magnesium- and iron-rich basalt rocks present here are a good raw material for construction and the production of soil fertilisers. The colony bases its economy and exports on them.
The colony is highly automated. Robots are used in the transport of raw materials and products from/to factories, the production of modular elements for housing, cultivation, services, and even administration.
The West Coast Colony inhabitants believe that as humans we have certain limitations, and we must constantly overcome our weaknesses. Therefore, they focus on transhumanism and gene improvement in such a way as to adapt the human body to the difficult Martian conditions. They also place great emphasis on inclusiveness, cultural and social life, common rituals as well as education and learning the truth about the universe. The colony also includes green zones for rest and recreation with plants brought from Earth...
Warsaw, 6 March 2022
We are going back to Earth. There is a war going on across our eastern border and climate change brings us intense winds, rains, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions...
Some people question the sense of organising such design and humanist workshops or hackathons. But maybe travelling to Mars in our imagination will help us see and express what we do not like here on Earth, change the things that should be changed or even adopt a completely different approach to things we know? Is it not thanks to our dreams and imagination that we are able to look into the future and create the world we want to live in? Not only on Mars, but also here on our planet Earth...
The Mars Colony Hackathon was organised by the US Embassy and the European Space Foundation in cooperation with the Polish Space Agency and Venture Café. The workshop took place on 4-6 March 2022 at the Cambridge Innovation Centre in Warsaw.
Congratulations to the winning team members: MONADA – Julia Jeka, Karolina Kruszewska, Tomasz Leonik, Oliwia Mandrela and Kamil Serafin.
*Blog also published on the European Space Foundation website
This blog is promoted and supported by the:
Author: Chris Yuan
Member of the InnovaSpace Board of Advisors; CoFounder Planet Expedition Commander Academy (PECA), Explorers Club member, Space Dreamer...
"Bang bang bang, bang bang," there was a knocking sound from the water.
This is an 18-foot-deep pool in the diving hall of Nanning City Gymnasium in Guangxi. Two PECA (Planet Expedition Command Academy) trainees: Hannah and Selina, wearing scuba diving gear, are stitching together a satellite model underwater, which is designed with PVC pipes of different colours that are removable and can be spliced together. This training involves scuba divers simulating the role of space station EVA astronauts, capturing and repairing damaged satellites. The person under training must maintain neutral buoyancy during the whole process and retain sober analytical and hands-on ability under the conditions of maintaining air consumption, completing the assembly of the satellite model and bringing it out of the water.
Hannah and Selina are mother and daughter, and Selina had just graduated from college and planned to have a gap year. The pair chose to participate in the 3-month PECA general training course. The scene just described was their training subject for PECA's second physical space, Ocean Planet: astronauts completing space missions in a simulated weightless state. They started from scratch and had already successfully completed the first physical space: Earth-Mountain Exploration, in which they completed a 10-day cross-country horseback trek on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and finally entered Tibet on horseback, after completing 235 kilometres of horseback riding.
Finally they arrived in Guangxi, China and experienced a lot of confined water training, cave diving, to adapt to the exploration of the underwater world, and simulate future space travel. Selina had no previous experience with such a wide range of different exploration types, and when asked if she worried about whether she would be up to the challenges of the training, she said: "I chose to take this step, that is, I chose to face the unknown changes."
The PECA curriculum has been seeking a path that connects the ordinary person at one end, with at the other end the coming age of great sailing for civilian space exploration (see also previous blog).
Space exploration in the minds of most people is a national strategy, a game for a few people financially supported by the government, and super-rich people. Several of my friends have asked me a similar question, a pointed question:
"How do you think that space travel can become a majority movement in the future? How is their training program different from official astronauts?"
Allow me to start with a story.
Fifteen years ago, I rode a mountain bike alone from the Ger-mud area of Qinghai to Lhasa, Tibet, and then continued on until I reached the base camp of Mount Everest. This is the highest road in the world. My journey lasted 40 days, was 2200km and ended at the highest altitude of the Everest Base Camp. I later wrote a book "Through Your Eyes, See My Soul - 40 Days of Everest Ride". Some readers asked me the same question:
"What is the most important prerequisite for a beginner who will ride the Qinghai-Tibet line? Sufficient money or physical reserves?"
After thinking carefully, I replied: Neither of the two you mentioned are the most important, the most important thing is the ambition you have to go, it's the determination, it's the emotion. With that first push, money and other things follow."
Think about it, it took only 66 years from the Wright brothers first successful test flight of their plane to the landing of a man on the Moon!
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