Archinauts VII – Understanding Space

To thoroughly understand space, in which our site is located – 400km from planet Earth and travelling at 17,200 mph, we undertook a study of the human body in a zero gravity environment. How we design for everyday activities such as eating, sleeping, exercising, or washing ourselves will be essential to the successful completion of our space hotel.

So what is space? Space is the continuous area or expanse which is free, available, or unoccupied. Space is the dimensions of height, depth, and width within which all things exist and move. Space is where things happen. Time on the other hand is when things happen, meaning that we can measure where things are and when things take place. Moreover, modern physics has enabled us to understand that when and where are actually part of the same question. When it comes to understanding the Universe, we need to replace the incalculably great three-dimensional realm, space, plus the dimension of time, with a simple concept: spacetime. Combined, space and time create a single, abstract Universe; so-called 4D spacetime.

The Universe can be defined as everything that exists, has existed, and will exist. According to our current understanding, the universe consists of spacetime, forms of energy, and the physic laws that relate them. In short, the Universe encompasses all of life and all of history. To add to this, there is another important factor: weightlessness.

Referred to as a Micro-g environment, or microgravity due to the minimal amount of g-force, we must understand that we will have to take a complete different approach to interior spaces outside of Earth’s atmosphere in space. Our spatial orientation will be affected as well as our body shape which will change; we will no longer be able to control our movements as easily as on Earth. Furthermore, according to NASA (2017), behavioral issues among groups of people crammed in a small space over a long time, no matter how well trained they are, are inevitable. “[T]he ecosystem inside the spacecraft plays a big role in everyday astronaut life.  Microbes can change characteristics in space, and microorganisms that naturally live on [our] body are transferred more easily from person to person in closed habitats like the space station. [S]tress hormone levels are elevated and [the] immune system is altered, which could lead to increased susceptibility to allergies or other illnesses, and disease. Every inch and detail of [our] living and working quarters must be carefully thought-out and designed.  Just like [we] wouldn’t want [our] house to be too hot, too cold, cramped and crowded, very loud, or not well lit, [we] would [not] enjoy working and living in such a dwelling in space either.” (NASA, 2017). Simple aspects such as air quality and lighting will have to be taken into account. Even muscles will start deteriorating. Designing for weightlessness will be key.

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