Thursday, June 28, 2007

Blue moon

Speaking of sealing people up in artificial environments, Rutgers recently held a Symposium on Lunar Settlements featuring talks from aerospace experts, former astronauts, lunar policy wonks, and even a space arcitect. (I never knew such a thing existed, but the University of Houston actually has an entire institute devoted to space architecture, called the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture.)

The presentation powerpoints are all available at the symposium Web site. Check out floorplans for the lunar colony in Larry Bell's presentation--they even include privacy screens. (Bell heads up the SICSA.)

But Brent Sherwood's presentation has the most telling title: "What will we actually do on the moon?" Sherwood offers a plan for "selling" the project to the general public--or, as he puts it, to "non-nerds."

And Chester Spell, an associate professor of management at the Rutgers School of Business—Camden, suggested that workers assigned to duty on a lunar colony would be vulnerable to depression and anxiety, which could run through a settlement like "social contagion."

Which brings us back to Biosphere 2: A reminder that we still may have something to learn from that "failed" first experiment out in the desert.

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