For thousands years human being expand itself to the earth. The last five decades there is an attempt from some countries to “break” the Earth borders and expand the human being to the space and other planets. First human on the Moon’s surface and the creation and operation of space stations like MIR and International Space Station (ISS) it was very serious steps for the permanent presence of human in space. A second step could the creation of bases (and small colonies for scientific purpose) to other planets which could lead in far future in transformation of big sizes of population and the building of big colonies. The basic projects proposal and plans are referred to the base creation of Mars and Moon. Although the development of technologies has bring many successes, the creation of permanent bases stations or small colonies need the development of technologies and innovation which can complete support a mission to extremely strange environments with the maximum autonomy. Some projects and programs such the space program of JAXA and the IIS development which includes and running current and future technologies and innovations which could give solution like the life support systems, the protection of cosmic radiation and the accommodation for a long time in strange environments. In this time the base of all these projects have main base the IIS systems.
Thousands years ago small nomads of Homo sapiens explore the near area for the expectation to find more food and water. For these reasons Homo sapiens was expanded to all Continents and conquer the Earth. Approximately 3000 years ago ancient Greeks made colonies around the Mediterranean not only to find new sources but to control creative the population growth and the commerce development. Effect of this evolution was the development of navy technology and the rumor of the arts. After 1492 a new age of exploration has begun with the building of new colonies in the America and Australia with basic scope to find new sources for economic and wealth grouth. Fifty two years ago former Soviet Union was set the first satellite around the earth. It was the first times that a human manufacture “broke” the earth gravity constrains and traveled above the atmosphere- space borders. This venture was the staring point of the space conquers. In the beginning were two gladiators: Former Soviet Union and USA. Both sides had many successes, failures and accidents. After the end of the cold war the appeared other three “players” in the space race: Europe, India and last but not least China. China is the third country in the world which has send man in the moon. It is remarkable that all the history of the space race it isn’t only a competitive game. There are many programs and projects where many countries assemble budget and know how. A good example is the International Space Station (I.S.S). The I.S.S is a result of co-operation of many countries with basic “partners” Russia, USA and E.U (European Space Agency). On 14th January 2004 the President of USA George Bush announced new Space Exploration vision for USA’s Civil Space program . The basic goal of that announcement was “to advance US Scientific, Security and Economic interests through a robust Space Exploration program’. This trial was for technologies development to extend human kind to Moon Mars and beyond. In general “Space colonization” refers to the settling and residence of human beings in space for the purpose of exploiting the physical characteristics of space . There many discussions and projects for space colonization. ”Life of Earth” involves artificial satellites – space station and colonies on planets, asteroids etc. In the following lines it will be discussed some very curious points such as the technological advantages of space colonization, the current and future research in the technological field. Secondary and parallel it will be discussed the environmental and technical problems that has been established
Picture 1 :MIR space station,source http://sonda.astro4u.net
- Space colonization: Requirements and Constraints
Since today there isn’t any short term project for space colonization for any planet. The only serious “in progress” project is under development is the ISS. Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has a project for the exploration and a base construction on the moon. In JAXA Visio document is compromised that will be develop technologies to achieve these goals. A serious problem that must be resolved is the settlement autonomy in unsafe conditions. Of course has been gained a lot off experience from previous aerospace projects. Some of problems are:
- The very low surface gravity
- The lack or unusable atmosphere
- The cosmic radiation
- The support in long distance and time travel
These problems create some questions (K.L. Murphy et al. / Advances in Space Research 43 (2009) 1275–1284)
- Can we develop infrastructures to space for an extended autonomous system?
- Can we modify scenarios and technologies to make them applicable in autonomous mode in space? How?
- What is the minimal technology set to make a mission completely based on space resources and autonomous from Earth supply?
The basic thoughts and ideas for first steps for space colonization are to construct bases (and labs) on the Moon and on the Mars. General the bases must have two types of specific characteristics: The first is that must have similarities with a spacecraft and the second is that must simulate the environment of Earth.
2.1 Life support technology
Life support systems in space stations and on the planets surfaces maybe is the most critical issue for the space colonization. Because the strange and strong different environments from Earth none human can leave without the support of the advance technology support systems. The basic requirements of a life support system could be:
- The closed environment must be habitable with the appropriate conditions (atmosphere, temperature)
- Provide all Human consumables like food and water
- Systems which have the specification of the Process and recycle waste
Today the only life support systems that have been operated for long time are MIR’s and ISS’s
2.1.1 Life support systems of MIR
The life support system will be based the MIR and I.S.S. MIR was in orbit around the earth for fifteen year and it was calculated that would be had full operation for five year. The life support system of MIR was developed based the primarily chemical regeneration techniques like the Electron air-regeneration systems and lithium per chlorate candles. These systems were designed for uninterrupted use with one or two people and had the ability to support more people when there was crew substitution (replacement) or had visitors. Finally the maximum number of people that had to support was three people. The general description of MIR’s systems where that spare parts for the life support system and electrical system support was located on board. Resupplying was become by supply vessels (Reiter, 1996). Also critical systems had robust backups and spare parts. A remarkable fact is that into M IR has become the record for longest time spent by a human in space and prove that human can survive for long time in space travels (for example Earth-Mars) without the big body debilitation. The record man’s name was Valerie Polyakov.
Picture 2: ISS
2.1.2 General Design and Life support systems of International Space Station
The design of MIR was the base of ISS (Picture 2,3) development structure. ISS systems are controlled by fifty-two computers. The software that have been written includes more than 400,000 lines and the flight support system software includes 1,7 million lines code. Of course and in this station there a lot of spare parts. It would be serious to be referred some characteristics costs and other numbers of this project. NASA has already estimated that for the support, upgrades and repairs are needed $6 billion dollars (and this station doesn’t travel but is only in orbit around the Earth). At the first five year operation ISS was complete in the half and the mass was 404,000 pounds, and in completed mass will be near 1 million pounds .About the life support system of ISS there are three subsystems about the closed system which involve the atmosphere, the water and the waste. All these system have a connection and recycle everything element is needed. The monitoring and the operations controls do an information system. In the figure 1 we can see some of electrochemical process for produce of some elements. A good example of these processes that the hydrogen produced by water electrolysis is now vented overboard but could be used later in Sabatier carbon dioxide reduction
Figure1: ISS life support system.source:sciencedirect
2.1.2 Life Support Systems: Other proposal and projects
Another technology that has been proposed as a form of life support system is the Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) which is used like Life Support System (LSS) or Closed Equilibrated Biological Aquatic System (CEBAS). Into a CELLS with the use of aquatic animals and plants and the development of a system that adds a microbial filter to hand out waste difficult waste products. The laboratory version tests of CEBAS technology is 150L has self-maintained in a closed system for 13 months and some smaller versions have tested in space-shuttle with microgravity. The basic problem has not been tested in 100% closure rate environment. A LSS with higher plants has greater capability to auto- repair and finally has been ascertained that a hybrid system with the use of chemical and physical subsystems would be more effective during the sort term (Bartsev et al., 1996, 2000, 2003; Gitelson et al., 2003).
An effect that has been established into the ISS and MIR is that a biological life support system can give a psychological exaltation for the crew. Of course similar with previous system that has been already described could be developed
As already written the basic project for space colonization has been developed for Mars and Moon. One of them is NASA’s Mars Design Reference Mission (MDRM).
Mars Design Reference Mission was put together Space Exploration Initiative on 1996 and after adapted and upgraded for changing missions and technologies. However, the baselines are in use still today. In this project the basic propulsion is the chemical propulsion and it has been calculated that MDRM has consume requirements around 200 and 500 tones from Earth orbit with a spacecraft which has transported in parts and assembled from smaller spacecrafts from the ground. The basic critical system includes chemical life support systems and the power systems are a mix of solar collectors and new clear generators. All this systems are able to support 1000 days travel and a crew with six persons
Picture 3: Basic parts of ISS.source:sciencedirect
3.2 Other technological issues and a new kind of architecture: SPACE ARCHITECTURE
There ate some aspects that the space exploration and in extension the colonization may be not have basic hero a character like Luke Skywalker but a character like terminator. Many scientists support the idea that the first steps of all projects and missions must be implemented with robotics machines. Since today many robots has landed to many planets and have done some scientific jobs with successful results. Well – know paradigms are the Mars Sojourner and Mars Pathfinder. In a proposal about the colonization of Venus (Colonization of Venus, Geoffrey A. Landis NASA John Glenn Research Center, mailstop 302-1, 21000 Brook Park Road, Cleveland, OH 44135 216-433-2238 e-mail: email@example.com) in one phase of this project the exploration of the Venus surface will be done remotely by robots. Robots must have some specific advance technologies and adeptness like mechanical linkages which are able to operate at a temperature above 450 C. It is remarkable that this temperature is hot enough to melt the solder on a standard electronic circuit board. In addition it is needed technologies which include virtual reality, advanced semiconductor materials, such as silicon carbide In the future it will be created projects with advanced robotic mechanisms which will have the ability to prepare the coming of humans.
Among all new technologies and innovations a new scientific term and innovative architecture of buildings is rising: Space architecture. “Space architecture is the theory and practice of designing and building environments for humans in outer space. It combines engineering and aesthetics, and requires knowledge of space environments, spaceflight engineering, space system engineering, and the psychology of isolated and confined environments” (J. Osburg, C. Adams, B. Sherwood, A mission for space architecture. SAE 2003-01-2431, July, 2003.)
This new Kind of architecture has all the requirements of the common architecture but in addition must be answer to requirements and constraints of the “foreign” environment of every planet where it is having been planned to be constructed a space base or colony. Space architect must design and calculate the similarity with the earth environment, issues of life support systems and the safety valves. In addition must recon the possibilities that some functions and rule that doesn’t work normal or work with other parameters (for example pressure, gravity etc). A good descriptive example is that a space architect but must know that the sound insulation doesn’t need in space environments because the sound doesn’t travel in vacuum. An other example is that when a building is designed must be calculated the problem of microgravity. In the future when the creation of space colonies become fact space architecture will be give many solutions.
Picture 4-5 Space settlements on Moon’s and Mars surfaces source:https://www.google.gr/search
3 Long term projects that are in progress and will be bring new technologies and innovations
In nowadays the only projects which running are the ISS programme and the JAXA Lunar exploration long term plan. Unfortunately the Mars exploration space programme has been suspended because the economic crisis.
3.1 JAXA Lunar Exploration long term plan
JAXA has developed an ambitious programme for the built of a lunar base. This program includes a set of technologies of the exploration of moon and the permanent support of a base. These advance technologies are related about: Advanced technologies development Robotics, ISRU (in situ resource utilization) technology base.Acquiring advance technologies through the international space station (ISS) utilization and H-II transfer vehicle (HTV).International cooperation in high performance sensors and a solar energy supply system. Some of them are already in progress and some of them will be developed in the future. In the picture we can have an idea of the JAXA programme.
Picture 6: JAXA Lunar Exploration long term plan source:science direct
3.2 Farming in space.
It is a common sense that the colonization of space it is depended of the ability to supply all the metabolic needs like oxygen, water and food. So a conditional solution could to apply farming practices in space. This proposal has already applied such experiments in MIR and ISS. For example has been executed the plan growth and has been used e in the Photosynthesis Experiment and System Testing and Operation (PESTO). Of course the knowledge which has been gained after PESTO has been created new expectations and needs for more advanced future design with multiple redundant chambers to increase the yield and allow the necessary flexibility to deal with the anomalies, advance systems for the control of humidity etc. The basic idea of this proposal is the create of space farms on space stations or planets surface and specified persons –space farmers- will be able to provide food in crews or in the future small populations in different environments than Earth’s. Farming in space will be operated in controlled environment chambers. These chambers will be created in different sizes and will provide programmed levels of light, air temperature, carbon dioxide and relative humidity. Other factors of the design of these farms could be the financial budget, the gravity etc. All the farms will be controlled and monitored by several systems like:
- Moisture control systems: Is an “on demand” watering scheme, where moisture levels in a standard rooted zone which provide enough water. The soil moisture will be monitoring by pressure sensors or heat-pulse moisture sensors arrays.
- Pressure sensors. The base use of Pressure sensors are use to check the root modules of Astroculture and Biomass production System flight hardware. In the future will be used to fabricate micro-tensiometers.
- Oxygen sensors: In the Astroculture flight experiments there was found that was not measured the root zone oxygen. For this reason have been developed two kinds of sensors. The first kind is the electrochemical oxygen sensor and the basic architecture consists of a thin of electrolyte held among an anode and cathode. The electrolyte is shielded by a thin layer Teflon which protects the electrolyte from drying out and handling the rate of oxygen diffusion into the cell. The second oxygen sensor technology is the root oxygen bio-availability (ROB) sensor. ROB sensor is an electrochemical oxygen sensor and the base design trial is to have the same size, shape ,and oxygen consumption like a living root. All these unit ages make the ROB sensor to be sensitive in oxygen bioavailability.
- Lighting systems: For the photosynthesis activation the need of a lighting system which uses the sun light is necessary. A project that is in progress use plastic optic fibbers for the transportation of the light to the crops
Picture 7: An example architecture of environmental controlled life support system,source:sciencedirect
Picture 8-9: Internal scheme of the plant growth racks source:https://www.google.gr/search
Picture 10: Future space farms
- Ethical Aspects
First of all the design of the mission’s projects and technological innovations must be created and have scopes for the common good and scientific value. The Outer Space Treaty  states in its Article II “Outer Space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use of occupation, or by any other means”.
As already written Nuclear power is the main potential energy source. Unfortunately the possibility of an accident isn’t too small. Outer Space Treaty refers exactly in Article IX: “States Parties to the Treaty shall pursue studies of Outer Space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, and conduct exploration of them so as to avoid their harmful contamination. . .” In this article it is referred that must be anticipated some rules of safety and planning systems and the avoidance of crew pollution.
- Protection from cosmic radiation
Protection from the cosmic radiation is very critical for the success for long time mission and accommodation to strange environments. Since these days has been developed many methods to protect the human body from cosmic radiation. Unfortunately all these methods have many problems for the reason of the high energy of the particles which are charged involved and the nuclear fragmentation appearing in shielding materials. The basic methods which have developed have two directions:
- Passive fields: These methods are based from the computer codes which have the ability to “predict” the shield performance in space. Alternative passive method is the use of electrostatic fields, magnetic fields or plasma to deny the charged particles.
- Active methods are in complete experiment level and include novel shielding materials, angular distribution of energetic solar particles and cooling systems etc.
This paper describe some current and future technologies and innovations that are developed and can support the implementation of bases and in extension colonies in other planets in solar system or the build of space stations. The basic plans and projects have been centralised to the Moon and Mars. All this projects involves some solutions and answers about some problems of the strange environments like the life support systems for long time accommodation with minimum support from Earth, the cosmic radiation protection and the low gravity. All the technological researches of bases on other planets are leaded from the environmental situations. The basic today’s research’s try to have basic prototypes the ISS life support systems. Other more complicated that are in progress try to create a Closed Equilibrated Biological Aquatic System (CEBAS). Unfortunately these systems are in experimental level and haven’t been worked in 100% closed rate. Farming in space is an advance idea with many technologies that are included with many control and artificial support systems. The experiments that have be done up to now can be give a very useful knowledge for the improvement and update of the current controlled environmental system. Farming in space is the most certain and stronger solutions for the creation of permanent extraterrestrial human bases and in extension colonies .Space Architecture is a new branch of classical architecture and specified to create settlements and buildings to extraterrestrial environments. Robotic technology has already given many solutions and with future development can help for the extension of human in solar system. Many projects have been developed about the problem of cosmoc radiation. These projects have two directions: The creation of passive field’s protection and the protection of active methods which is in experimental level. All the above technologies if they will be integrated will be give strong possibilities for the systematic space colonization
Picture 11: Future Base on Moon,source:sciencedirect
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This discussion was written on April of 2010