Traveling to Mars in Your Parents’ 1970s Living Room

mars-test

[image via NYTimes]

In an experiment designed to test the psychological effects of a manned mission to Mars, an international crew of six potential space-farers will be locked inside hermetically sealed tubes for 105 days as the first step of the Moscow-based Mars-500 project. “It is really like a real space flight without the weightlessness and the danger to our lives,” says potential cosmonaut Sergei N. Ryazansky. Russia, who is leading this project, is amping up their space program at a time when the US is poised to stop their shuttle program. But the Mars-500 scientists assure us that International politics play no role in this current pursuit and this is most assuredly not another space race. “We are working not only for ourselves but for the future of humanity.”

Giving new meaning to 1970s cop show Life on Mars, the simulated spacecraft is composed of four sealed modules built in the 1970s for early isolation and space station experiments. It shows. Will there be psychological affects resulting from living in a completely wood-paneled space? And what – no conversation pit? Thankfully the modules have been updated with new, advanced life-support systems and experimental greenhouses which, according to the first project diary entry from subject Oliver Knickel, is being used to grow vegetables to “spice up” their food…and um, presumably absorbing CO2 and creating Oxygen as well. After the jump, more details and a diagram of the module. Continue reading “Traveling to Mars in Your Parents’ 1970s Living Room”

From the Earth to the Moon, To Live in a Balloon

Moonbase 2 by Architecture and Vision

[image via io9]

In honor of today’s debut of the incredibly-named Virgin Galactic White Knight Two and last week’s revelation of the existence of extraterrestrial life from Apollo 14 astronaut and holder of the record for longest continuous moon walk, Edgar Mitchell, let’s look at a new design proposal for a long-term moon base research station. Architecture and Vision’s MoonBase 2 is an igloo-like inflatable structure designed to be transported on the Ares V rocket, a heavy-launch vehicle that will accompany Ares I, a crew vehicle, on NASA’s next planned moon trip in 2019. Like an igloo, the dome shape provides maximum exposure to the sun for warmth (and perhaps energy?) and can accomodate a research crew of four people for up to six months. Potentially, MoonBase 2 could be redubbed MarsBase 1 and used as a temporary planetary settlement — perhaps while astronauts fashion bricks from Martian soil for something a bit more permanent.
Continue reading “From the Earth to the Moon, To Live in a Balloon”