The recipe for a better humanity — a permanent moon base
There is so much trouble in the world. And especially in 2020. There were so many things to worry about. Fires in Australia, an explosion in Beirut and of course COVID-19 pandemic. It may seem that the list is never-ending.
But we believe that the future is bright! There are heaps of great things which make us excited and say: “The future is going to be great!” Humanity becoming a spacefaring civilization is one of them.
Therefore we are starting a new series where we are asking people about their vision of the world where space flight is common, humanity has landed on Mars, and built a permanent base on the Moon.
Question #1: How will the permanent presence of Humans in space on the mass scale change humanity?
Seeing the Earth from above, and having this grand view of our planet, leads to a really profound change in the way people behave
I believe commercial spaceflight will be available much sooner than the presence on Mars or on the Moon. Hopefully, it will be affordable for many people.
Seeing Earth from above, having this breathtaking perspective on our home planet, will have a really deep impact on the way people treat their home. We will realize that we have to take care of our planet.
Similarly, as it happened to all astronauts who experienced the overview effect.
I think that’ll change the perspective of many humans.
Human presence on the Moon and on Mars will change our view of space even more. Imagine, every time when I look at the moon, I will see a light on the surface. I will see a lunar base!
Every time when I speak about the lunar village, I speak about the archaeological site the moon has become over millions of years presenting traces, rocks, sands and impacted micrometeoroids of the whole universe. The amount of knowledge we will gain from a permanent lunar base will become a game-changer to our understanding of the universal context we live in.
Earth will no longer be the only celestial body with life in the earth’s vicinity. Humans will live on the moon and possibly Mars. Humans inhabiting three celestial bodies will lead to a better understanding of ourselves and even also to a better connection amongst all of us.
With a permanent base on the moon and Mars, I imagine humanity will develop different cultures on each of the sites. Moon can be reached from Earth anytime, just in a matter of days. But a permanent Mars base will need to be even more self-sufficient and autonomous because it so far away and resupply takes time and is very costly.
Hopefully, the cultures emerging will be international and interplanetary, and hopefully not just a replication of humans’ exploitation mentality translated to moon and Mars. We will learn from our current ways, as we were colonising and exploiting resources and humans. This time we have to avoid making the same mistakes. We have to look for other solutions. A first step could be the creation of suborbital flights available for as many people as possible. This would really change their perspectives.
Question #2: What will be the business impact of the massive space exploration?
Of course, enhanced space exploration on a much larger scale will have an impact on the global economic landscape. I think there will be more industries dedicated to space technology of all sorts. The robotic industry will thrive as there will be completely new, more autonomous systems, including systems using artificial intelligence and possibly swarm technologies.
I think there will be a focus shift from the current space economy which is driven by telecommunication and satellites around the Earth. We need to start accommodating space inhabitants — we need to focus on humans and how we will become a society living in space.
If we consider that animals are also living on the Moon, they and us will become the centre of design aspects. So I think in that sense many different human and other factors regarding living entities will have to be incorporated.
Hopefully, we will manage to think in a holistic way. Then we can actually use the Moon as a testbed for not only going to Mars but to establish an autonomous basis there.
A Moonbase, where all life-support systems are fully closed can develop technologies which can be a game-changer for ecology and sustainability on Earth.
I think one technology which will become very important is 3D printing. I believe it will undergo massive progress in the future together with the life-support systems. I am thinking not only of reusing all the resources like water, like air, but also all the materials we would be using for the lunar base. Both technologies are a necessity for space exploration and settling on another celestial body and at the same time, they are similarly useful on Earth. I see clear business potential in both of them.
Question #3: Education is the backbone of every development. How do we need to change our educational system in order to achieve this vision?
In this respect, education needs to change drastically towards a more interdisciplinary education. I am thinking of an Education, through which students learn how to develop projects, learn how to work together with different disciplines, further away from their core background. This way people will get an understanding of what it means to think like a biologist, to think like an astrophysicist, or to think like an engineer or a roboticist. Or to think as an artist or as a designer, because they work with realms of thoughts which are very different from technical disciplines. This way people will create connections, some sort of common language in between different professions.
I think this will be a very important step towards being actually able to do these grand and highly complex space projects. And it will also connect the people.
The other aspect is the internationality. With all the learning tools and online learning strategies which are currently being developed rapidly due to the pandemic, people from different parts of the world can connect very easily. Additionally, learning will become more accessible and affordable as the only thing people need is an internet connection.
In this light it seems imperative not only to learn, but also bringing the disciplines together and connecting different cultures, different approaches to work, to life, throughout the world.
Barbara Imhof is the co-founder and CEO of LIQUIFER Systems Group, an interdisciplinary team comprising engineers, architects, designers and scientists. LIQUIFER’s projects deal with spaceflight parameters such as with living with limited resources, minimal and transformable spaces, resource-conserving systems; all aspects imperative to sustainability.
Projects Barbara has led for LIQUIFER include the design of the first transportable European space simulation habitat SHEE (Self-deployable Habitat for Extreme Environments), the design of sampling tools for human-robot collaboration in project Moonwalk.
Adding to her experience about space simulations she served as simulation astronaut for the project Moonwalk’s Mars demonstrations in Rio Tinto, Spain in 2016. Another path Barbara has been following since the 2000s are biomimetic designs for architectural structures such as in the projects Biornametics and Growing As Building. LIQUIFER’s partners and clients belong to internationally renowned institutions and space agencies.
Written by Igor Zacek & Adam Gala