Habitabilityrefers to making life onboard Æther as acceptable to the inhabitants aseconomically possible. With permanentresidency on Æther being considered, it is not prudent to always opt for lowcost and ignore habitability. Permanentresidents of space will not accept the relatively primitive conditions thatexist today onboard space flights. InÆther, the emphasis must be on providing an environment that a person would behappy, healthy, and successful in family life, work, and communityrelationships. Negative emotions suchas anger, fear, envy, loneliness, or greed must be prevented as much aspossible through design. The three mainannoyances in current spacecraft that detract from habitability are low levelsof environmental comfort, personal inconveniences, and a lack of personalcontrol over their environments [ref 13].
Basichabitability aspects are as follows: climate, illumination, colors andsurfaces, décor, vibration, odor, noise, pests, interior space/layout, hygiene,and food and drink [ref 1]. Althoughsome of these components alone may seem insignificant, when combined theydetermine the quality of life onboard Æther and ultimately will be a key factorin whether or not colonization of space is successful.
Maintaining acomfortable “shirt-sleeve” environment is key to having a vibrant, productivecolony. Studies have demonstrated areduction in cognitive and psychomotor performance at and above a temperatureof 302 K (~30˚ C, ~85˚ F) [ref 14].Performance also suffers if the temperature is below 291 K and thedecrease in performance is proportional to the length of exposure.
Illumination isvital for visibility within Æther. NASAstandards advise that “bright and uniform” wide-spectrum light should beemployed in work areas; nighttime and social activities could just utilize warmwhite light, this would also serve to help the average human’s association of“warm” light with such activities [ref 13, 14]. Natural lighting via the windows could serve the purpose of widespectrum light. Windows and/or viewingpanels are important for satisfying curiosity and orienting the colonists totheir external environments and should be integrated into the exterior designof Æther. However, sharp differences inlighting between adjacent areas should be avoided to reduce the difficulty ofadjusting. Special care must also betaken when viewing objects through a window, as bright objects and glares aredetrimental to eyesight. Simulating14-hour days and 10-hour nights would also be required in a colony thatreceives 24-hour sunlight.
Colors andsurfaces provide a sense of aesthetics but also can be very useful innavigation throughout the colony.Colors are especially important in micro-gravity areas where directionsof “up” and “down” are not absolute.Painting the “ceiling” a different color from the “floor” could helpworkers easily orient themselves in micro-gravity work areas.
Décor such asart helps people adapt to monotonous environments, and pictures of earthlandscapes could educate children born in space about earth.
Elimination ofvibration is important for health and comfort of the colonists.
Odors canaccumulate rapidly when air is recycled, fortunately people adapt to increasingconcentrations of odors quite well.However, toxic substances, whether pleasant smelling or not, must bekept below unacceptable levels. Also,obnoxious odors must be controlled to minimize distraction and dissatisfaction.
Sources ofambient noise onboard Æther will be pumps, fans, transportation infrastructureand other equipment. This ambient noisecould potentially become an annoyance and interfere with speech and sleep ifnot properly controlled. Ultimately,noise can cause aggressive behavior.Several methods can achieve the design goal of less than 35 dB forresidential areas of Æther, and a higher limit of 55 dB for work areas.
Weas human beings despise pests for many good reasons; pests commonly are thecarriers of deadly disease, cause great discomfort, and are also associatedwith low standards of living. Commonpests of home, people, and pets found on earth include ants, bed bugs, bees andwasps, recluse spiders, carpenter bees, carpet beetles, cliff swallows, clothesmoths, cockroaches, conenose bugs, delusory parasitoids, fleas, head lice, hobospiders, horsehair worms, house flies, house mice, mosquitoes, pantry pests,silverfish and firebrats, stable flies, termites, ticks, windscorpions, andwood-boring beetles [ref 36].
Immigrants willbe screened for pests, and active control will be undertaken.
Parasitoids developinside of and eventually kill their hosts, and they are dissimilar in theirchoice of hosts; thus different species of parasitoids must be imported tocombat different species of pests.However, the concern that some parasitoids may be considered peststhemselves limits the effectiveness of parasitoid pest-control.
Predatorsconsume their nonspecific prey and thus can be used to control a wide varietyof pests, mostly crop pests. Theyinclude beetles and lady beetles of the Chilocorus kuwanae, Chilocorusstigma, Coccinella septempunctata, Coleomegilla maculata, Cryptolaemusmontrouzieri, Harmonia axyridis, Hippodamia convergens, Pseudoscymnustsugae, Rodolia cardinalis, Stethorus punctum, Lebiagrandis, and Aleochara bilineatis species; bugs of the Campylommaverbasci, Deraeocoris nebulosus, Geocoris spp., Orius spp.,and Podisus maculiventris species; lacewings of the Chrysoperlacarnea/Chrysoperla rufilabris and Hemerobius spp. species;midges of the Aphidoletes aphidimyza species; mites of the Galendromus
Beneficialpathogens and antagonists aid humans by infecting and suppressing harmful pests[ref 35]. The term pathogen usuallyrefers to a bacteria, virus, or fungi that infects harmful insects or mites,while the term antagonist refers to a microorganism that is helpful in the controlof microorganisms that cause food spoilage and plant disease [ref 35].
Weeds thatreached Æther would quickly propagate and cover much of the arable landscapeinside, since there would be little to no preexisting methods to control thoseweeds. To offset this effect, naturalenemies of weeds should be imported to Æther.Weed feeders include moths, fungi, weevils, beetles, and flies.
Spacefor colonists must be adequate for their needs yet not so much as to beredundant and unnecessary. Space forCELSS machinery, recreational and social functions, living habitats,communications infrastructure, transportation, agriculture, storage, andbusinesses must be provided for [ref 34].While some space needs are unique, many based on communal activities, suchas assembly space, share common elements with other needs.
Thespace needs inside the torus can be summarized in the following table.
Area per person (m2)
Agriculture and Food Processing
While the total figure of 1.37x107m2 clearly exceeds the total area available on the primary floor ofthe torus, it should be noted that the torus also contains a lower level thatwould house most of the agriculture and food processing space and that mostbuildings in Æther will be multi-story, thus creating out of a piece of landtwo, three, or four times the original amount of space.
Hygienewater has the potential to place a high strain on the CELSS, particularly thewater management subsystem. Hopefullythe majority of colonists will be able to maintain an acceptable level ofhygiene while not using an excessive amount of water. Toilets in the residential areas will be similar to those onearth for maximum ease and comfort, but those in the microgravity environmentof the work areas will have to be highly reliable and not suffer the mechanicaldifficulties of the integrated fecal/urine collector onboard the spaceshuttle. Showers should be efficient aspossible, thus the use of graywater heat recovery systems is warranted.
Foodis an essential part of daily living, as it not only fulfills physical needsbut also psychological and social needs.Shared meals help create unity between colonists and food serves as aform of recreation in boring environments.For example, good food is a major motivation for sailors in submarinesand remote Antarctic research bases [ref 13]. Thus it is important for food aboardÆther to not only be nutritious but also to be delicious.
Long-term habitability aspects are as follows: crewcomposition, health care, communication, privacy, and entertainment [ref1]. They become important whenconsidering extended periods of residency.
Crewcomposition will be important in long-term missions because colonists must beable to work together. However, debateover whether colonists should be selected on a “first come, first serve” basisor on a merit basis arose. While theselection of colonists should not be exclusive, unwanted elements of societysuch as criminals should not be allowed onto Æther. A combination of these two selection processes was finallychosen. The initial wave of “pioneers”would consist of merit based selected colonists who would essentially testÆther’s CELSS reliability, then a “first come, first serve” selection processwould be initiated for the “settlers,” who would take the remaining open slotsin Æther. Companies could also applyfor a group permit, but the available slots for companies would be limited sothat the opportunity to live in space would be presented to individuals.
Maintainingdistinguished health care facilities will be important for attracting permanentresidents to Æther. The ideal healthcare system would provide the best health care available while respecting therights of the physician and the patient [ref 32]. A sufficient number of physicians is needed for the proper healthcare of the colonists, and some specialty services would also be provided, butfor some extreme cases that would not be able to survive the journey back toearth, transportation of specialized doctors from earth would have to bearranged. Hospitals and emergencyvehicles would be provided for, and the goal of one doctor per 400 personsshould be maintained to provide quality care.
Communicationcan be divided into communication within Æther, communication between Æther andother space habitats or earth.Communication serves both task and socio-emotional functions [ref 14].
Nonverbalmiscommunication will occur in the micro-gravity regions of Æther, whereproxemic and kinesic modes of nonverbal communication will be hindered by thepuffiness of the face and difficulties in anchoring oneself.
Communicationbetween Æther and other space habitats or earth will necessitate the use of anelectronic medium; thus, satisfactory bandwidth will need to be achievedbetween these three points. Thiscommunication will be in the form of different types of media such as fullmotion video, audio, written messages, and data. This type of communication will be of utmost importance tocolonists who have left family or friends on earth to live in space.
Audiocommunication is next in being most information-rich as it contains bothparalinguistic and linguistic modes [ref 14].Many technical challenges are present with a fully duplex audiocommunication system in which both users can speak at will [ref 14].
In gainingwidespread acceptance of the video, audio, and written lines of communicationonboard Æther, the designer must fully understand the colonists’ needs, thebenefits of the designed system must be made clear to the colonists, and thecolonists need to be properly trained in the operation of the differentsystems. Integrating the opinions ofpioneers into the design process is helpful for designers trying to understandthe attitudes and needs of people living in space [ref 14].
Privacyis arguable one of the most difficult and perplexing parts ofhabitability. Not only do individualshave varying levels of privacy, the notion of acceptable privacy differs fromculture to culture. Given the contextof an international population living onboard Æther, designing for privacy is acomplex issue. The term “privacy”refers to a plethora of meanings, such as the “need for adequate space; visual,physical, or psychological separation; low population density; control overspace, possessions, or information; freedom of activity; and many otherconcepts” [ref 14]. One definite way toease the sense of little privacy is to ensure that each colonist receives anample amount of space that he or she can call his or her own.
Off-dutyfunctions are essential to balancing the colonists’ work.
Some types ofentertainment would not be available to colonists because of severalreasons. Smoking will be strictlyforbidden as it would place too great of a strain on the CELSS air managementsubsystem. Other recreational drugs inthe form of sedatives, stimulants, hallucinogens, and painkillers have shown tohave no positive uses outside of the medicinal world and will not be availablefor recreational purposes due to the negative effects brought about bylong-term use. One exception would becaffeine, and others could probably be found given more research.
Not only mustconventional active and passive entertainment be provided, but other, novelentertainment should also be available to enhance the appeal of living inÆther. Given the exotic locale ofÆther, such entertainment will be plentiful.Such entertainment could be earth-based activities that have beentransplanted into a zero-g environment such as swimming, handball, and tag, ornew activities that the colonists invent.
Providinginspirational education is key to combating boredom and creating a sense ofpersonal growth. The learning processis continual and should be aided and encouraged by both school andcommunity. Due to the size of Æther,schools of decent size would be able to be constructed for pre-primary throughpost-tertiary education. In theprimary, secondary, and tertiary schools there should exist a plethora ofclasses, but not at the expense of quality.Core classes in the basic sciences, mathematics, languages, socialsciences, and fine arts should be complemented and applied to daily life inother classes. Being able to chooseclasses would alleviate the deprivation of control in an artificial environmentsuch as Æther. The structure of theeducation system in Æther should be left for the colonists to decide, but itshould be noted that constant interaction between different ages is beneficialto the unity and development of the community.Educational opportunities for older generations should be made availablein either distance learning or “night classes” offered at tertiary educationalestablishments.
Schoolsare not the only places where education occurs, cultural establishments such asthe library, museums, and research centers also offer excellent educationalopportunities. The library could serveas a book repository for school classes while also serving the general public.
IV.B.7 Interior Transportation
Lifeonboard Æther will require efficient means of transporting colonists from anygiven place inside Æther to another place.Public transportation would be the most effective way of meeting thisneed, since it can transport people using a minimum of infrastructure andenergy. Design goals for publictransportation should include low jerk rates (1-2 m/s3), lowaccelerations and decelerations (1.5 m/s2), insignificant or nofares, fast transit speeds, pleasant accommodations, high reliability, littleto no noise, and extreme safety [ref 42].Transit speeds should be fast so as to not cause inconvenience, but shouldnot be so fast as to cause massive Coriolis forces. Thus speeds tangentially in opposition to or in conjunction withthe rotation of the colony should cause no more than a 0.1g deviation, thus theapproximate maximum speed should be 7 m/s (26 km/h). Monorails will be used to provide Ætherians with fast publictransportation. Monorails trains areeither suspended or supported by a single rail. Wheels that make contact with the rail supply the forward motion.
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Curator: Al Globus
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