It seems that the more interesting space gets and the bigger our ambitions get, the farther away we are from just reaching the baseline level of what we want. That is, being able to live in or regularly travel to and from space. The environment humans live in isn’t one that, as far as we know, naturally lives anywhere else in our solar system though, so it must be simulated, which will take a lot of time.
Making space livable is an ambitious process that we’re still a ways away from — and rightfully so! Though aerospace scientists have big plans and are working hard toward their goals, the government has only gotten seriously involved relatively recently. In addition, some previous efforts to forray further into space have tragically failed, resulting in a loss of human lives and calls for more caution. So we must proceed as such, and meet the following human necessities.
Let’s get real, people are already tired of settling down on this planet. Millennial home-buying trends themselves are changing quickly with new obsessions with tiny homes and alternative housing and less focus on long-term real estate purchases. If these trends stick around, then space technology and exploration has it’s perfect time to shine. The next generation may be able to take steps further and start pushing for homes outside of this stratosphere.
But first we need to have the actual ability to survive there longterm. Currently, NASA is working on and testing new designs for homes, applications, and living quarters in space. In their Space Settlements: A Design Study of 1977, the necessities were addressed and we’re still trying to get them covered. Aside from the resources (listed below), atmosphere, pseudogravity, and proper size of facilities are the first things necessary for living out life long term in space. And that’s without including the cost of it all. After all, our bodies have adapted and evolved to survive on Earth. They’re not prepared for a place where the very air we breathe is missing. This is of first importance.
Natural resources — like food, water, energy, are needed in excess for humans to survive. True, we’ve found water on Mars and other planets. But we would need to adapt the technology we’ve been using to battle our current water crises in order to supply it to people living there. What is up there, as far as we know, will not cut it.
Our technology is catching up though. It appears as though we should be able to grow food with what science has brought us. Yes, everything from fruit and vegetables to marijuana will be able to be grown in space. The technology we’re developing currently will make the right kind of sterilized growing rooms possible in places where specifics of the atmosphere would otherwise prevent it. However, keep in mind that natural resources depend on each other. Without one, you often can’t utilize the others. The system of natural processes that we have on Earth needs to be forged for us to live outside of it.
Finally, let’s talk travel. Forget affordable, let’s just talk about dependability! There have been several bad outcomes of shuttle explorations. Most of us know about the Challenger in January of 1986, a spaceship that exploded nearly as soon as it got off the ground, claiming the lives of seven astronauts. This isn’t the only case of a spaceship fatality, though it is the most infamous.
Cases like the Challenger have led some to ask if space travel will ever be safe. One can only guess, but until living spaces and resources are available, it won’t matter for the general person anyhow. Still, many of us hope that we’re only a few hundred years out. Some believe we’re closer than that and some believe that it will never happen, but only time will tell if our future relatives will spend substantial time growing away from this planet.
So, now we’ll ask you: what do you think life after Earth will be like if we reach it? And if so, when do you think we’ll get there? What’s the biggest thing holding us back? We’d love to get your thoughts, so feel free to leave them in the comments below!