Note — Aug 19, 2018

Space Cyborgs

Seen in → No.45

Recollections of Decolonizing Mars

This is the time of event and reflection I’m pretty sure is not happening around Elon Musk. The quote below gives you a good idea why you should read it but also; the origine of the word cyborg, it’s connection to antidepressants, The Expanse, and whether people with disabilities might actually be the best suited for space exploration.

But really, Williams had me at “Astropoetics, science fictions, Afrofuturisms.”

Why are we settling space? Disability on Mars, and Martian Bias (we’ll come back to this in a bit). Historical visions and understandings of Mars. The potential importance of the semantic differences between the terms “Colonization” and “settlement.” Who has the “right” to leave earth? Space law, ethics, Martian governance, and new economies for new worlds. Space cities: What kind of social spaces and architectures will we create and inhabit? Space and the possibility of human existential loneliness. New energy systems for new worlds. Astropoetics, science fictions, Afrofuturisms, and imagining possible futures.

When We Eat, or Don’t Eat, May Be Critical for Health

This one is worth a read for circadian cycles, time-restricted feeding, and biological rhythms (caveat; I haven’t researched this further) but I’m including for the way it links to the Mars-cyborg piece above, read the quote below with space exploration and other planets in mind.

“We’ve inhabited this planet for thousands of years, and while many things have changed, there has always been one constant: Every single day the sun rises and at night it falls,” Dr. Panda said. “We’re designed to have 24-hour rhythms in our physiology and metabolism. These rhythms exist because, just like our brains need to go to sleep each night to repair, reset and rejuvenate, every organ needs to have down time to repair and reset as well.”

The Shape of Space

Excellent long read by Fred Scharmen reviewing the orbital space habitats designed for NASA in 1975 and what they can teach us about living in new geometries. Includes the O’Neill Cylinder, Stanford Torus, and Bernal Sphere and brings the Buckminster and the BERG. (At the very least have a look at the vintage space habitat illustrations.)

“Space is hard,” scientists tell one another when things go wrong. Lacking air, filled with radiation, ranging in temperature from absolute zero to burning hot in the unfiltered glare of the Sun, “outer” space cannot be experienced by humans without mediation. We need constructed bubbles of warmth and comfort. We can imagine the spacesuit itself as a kind of personal spaceship, or a super-room. Similarly, the contours of the Summer Study designs represented a literal closure, sealing off a habitatable environment from the vacuum of space. Within the space of a Bernal Sphere or Boullée’s Cenotaph, what is outside no longer matters. It’s a void — an absolute, infinite void — but it may as well be a hard solid.