How to design human homes for alien planets


EXCERPT: . . . So how do you design a home for a human in a non-human world? [Nick] Kanas suggests space architects start with something very simple: a view of Earth. Simply being able to see home could actually help stave off homesickness, he says. "I think it's worth installing a telescope so that the crew of a Mars mission can look at the Earth in almost real time," he says. "The image could even be projected onto a screen that looks like a window. It might also help to have some kind of virtual reality system that allows the crew to see their homes and visit their families."

What about cabin fever? One of the best ways to relieve stress here on Earth is by simply stepping outside and breathing in the fresh air, feeling the wind on your face, or just getting some time to yourself. On Mars, that won't really be possible, and tensions could rise quickly when a handful of people are confined to a small space for extended periods of time. Kanas says the strain of living in such restricted conditions can lead to "interpersonal problems that are difficult to express openly, given that one must depend on these same people for support and assistance in accomplishing mission goals."

To keep strife from boiling over and jeopardizing a mission, Kanas says architects have to incorporate private spaces in their Martian home designs....


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