We should start building affordable houses that could be used on another planet or moon. I think it would be interesting if Habitat for Humanity stopped building wood framed houses and started erecting space worthy homes. If we could build or deliver a space house for less than a wood framed house we probably should. We need people of all walks of life to live in a house that would be used in space colonization. We need human feedback for continuous improvement. More importantly, we need to mainstream the idea of the next generation of homes.
We are facing climate change and increasing world population. Some people, perhaps whole towns to cities, will need to be moved due to coastal flooding. This may be the opportunity to move a large population into space houses. Let’s face it, moving a large population of people may not be wildly welcomed into an area that struggle with a large population. This will remove large urban areas from consideration. Other at risk areas with starvation, drought, or refugees could also limit a relocation. The good news with a space house is if it can survive space, it can survive some difficult areas of Earth as well.
Granted, it is not realistic to setup a town of space homes and expect the transplanted population to be overjoyed. Thought and planning is required. The town would not only need a power supply but also a way of self sustaining. An autonomous space town would need to produce food, air, and maintain a clean water supply. It would need a host of structures for administration (what is a town without bureaucracy), town services, health services, education, and communal areas for meetings and entertainment. Self reliance will be critical since the town could be placed in a searing hot desert or a frigid tundra. The town would easily survive at extremes. It would not just survive but thrive because this town could be deployed to another planet or moon just as easily as Earth.
So, what is a space home? A home is where you rest, raise family, cook, entertain, maintain hygiene, and perhaps work. Most people would not feel at home if missing key pieces of what a house should provide. In the article, Terranormous Space Cities, I explored some of the concepts of home in a space context. Suffice to say, the house will have enough room and amenities that most people would consider it a home.
A space house needs a few extras than a normal Earth house. It needs to be modular and easy to attach to larger structures but flexible enough to fit in different footprints. It would be air locked and could maintain air and water for an extended period of time. It would be rugged and able to survive some of the worst weather but also radiation and vacuum. The space house would be networked and can communicate outside itself. Communications not only provide the house status as part of a network but is also part of communication between inhabitants of the town. Simply, the house is integrated into the town and its inhabitants.
Last and as important as a good working bathroom, education. Space house and town living will be different. Learning how to live in a sustainable way is important to the house itself but also the town. There will be new jobs to learn and new ways to contribute. Perhaps if a space town on Earth is running well it could be selected to move to space.
As humans, we need to explore paradigm shifts in what we consider common place. A house is a fairly common construct and in some cases unchanged for hundreds of years. However, our planet is changing as well as population and resources. We need to think differently starting now. Creating a new mindset around what a home is would definitely challenge the norm.