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Can we design a fully self-sustaining enclosed habitat for people?

Image credit: Vincent Callebaut

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Oct 02, 2020
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Could a man-made, airtight ecosystem be created to sustain people without the need for external material resources? Could the entire thing be powered by energy from the sun or a fusion reaction?

As humanity gears for space exploration, we are getting increasingly interested in technologies that help us reuse and recycle resources in space. On the International Space Station (ISS) water is already being recycled for drinking. In such a habitat, plants can exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen and provide food by using waste as fertilizer.

There was an experiment called Biosphere 2 which was a materially enclosed but energetically open habitat on earth. It unfortunately failed, but it had a pretty good run for a while. That was 20 years ago. What have we learned since?

How do we create a functional self-sustaining habitat where people can survive and thrive in space?
Creative contributions

Cover all the walls with useful plants that provide food and oxygen

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Oct 02, 2020
As explained in this session, the goal is to figure out which plants are the most suitable for low light and low maintenance conditions while also producing food for the astronauts.

I have yet to figure which species are the most useful for this purpose. If there are no ideal candidates yet, maybe some could be genetically engineered by combining useful traits from several species.
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Time to practice on Earth

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Jul 28, 2021
The era of space exploration seems to be upon us. Starting this decade we may see a permanent base on the Moon and the first people on Mars.

There are some efforts to begin building Mars habitats on Earth. Why don't more people and companies get involved? This idea proposes a commercial/communal way of getting into the game and beginning to learn/iterate on such habitat prototypes.

We might need a breakthrough in material science to come up with suitable materials that can:
  • be sourced on Mars and/or Moon
  • are very lightweight so that they could be transported from Earth
  • are very durable so that they can withstand decades of solar radiation
  • could withstand small impacts or rapidly self-repair
  • are easy to repair
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 years ago
Animated "tour" of Dubai biosphere https://youtu.be/vZAuAtw5skM
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General comments

Darko Savic
Darko Savic3 years ago
The biggest Mars simulation on Earth https://youtu.be/VqdyeYXi580?t=89

What a million person Mars colony could look like https://youtu.be/JaimO7nvzzQ

The first 10.000 days on Mars https://youtu.be/G3hPH_bc0Ww
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