Interest in the exploration of space has waned ever since America beat the Russians by landing the first man on the moon in 1969. Due to the immense vastness of space and the economic support needed to accomplish even the smallest venture there has been little advancement towards the ‘conquest of space’.
The space programs of various nations have however been ticking away quietly. The International Space Station is finally complete, and private companies are now being encouraged to take the place of the government agencies that once had complete control of this infinite frontier.
In 2010 American president Barack Obama unveiled a space-plan that aims to send astronauts to a nearby asteroid by 2025. Based on current, known terrestrial reserves, overlaid against the growing consumption of developing countries it has been speculated that key elements necessary for modern industry could be exhausted within 60 years. A large proportion of valuable elements found on Earth owe their existence to asteroids that hit the Earth’s surface after the planet’s crust cooled. It has been suggested that in response to this information that these essential elements, also found in asteroids, be mined and sent to Earth for consumption. Water, mined from ice within the asteroids could potentially be used for propellant and the proliferation of life on the celestial body.
Architecture is becoming increasingly relevant in space in recent times. Space architecture is now a recognised discipline in its own right with many ‘space architects’ working to design habitats for the proliferation of human of life beyond ‘spaceship Earth’. Renowned journal, Domus, held a workshop in orbital hotel design this past European summer.
In this project the architect has been called upon to design spaces that not only allow human life to survive in this hostile environment, but that are conducive to living.