The Design of Habitats for the Long-Term Health of Inhabitants in the Extreme Environments of Earth and Outer Space.

Bassingthwaighte, Tristan S.
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Isolated, confined, and extreme (ICE) environments are the most universally challenging places in which anyone could attempt to survive, but can provide enormous scientific and economic benefits for those who do live and work within them. The harsh environmental conditions and psychological difficulties experienced within ICE environments currently limits the amount of time individuals can spend at Earth’s poles, at sea, or in space to roughly a year. Enabling humans to survive for a longer duration while remaining physically and psychologically healthy is the central goal of architecture for ICE environments. These environments offer access to resources such as oil and gas and enable unique scientific exploration and discovery. Addressing the difficulties those living in ICE environments face will increase overall productivity and health. The lessons learned throughout the process can be applied to more common and less extreme environments as well. Designs created to make a polar base pleasant to live in are appropriate for high-rise apartments or other space-restricted communities. Learning to live in extreme environments has the potential to provide an increased quality of life for those inhabitants and provides benefits to society as a whole. The major considerations within ICE design are architectural interventions aimed at addressing the social, psychological, and physical needs of inhabitants. These categories define the stressors of ICE environments, from social issues that arise from isolation or psychological reactions from confinement, to the purely physical requirements of those in extreme environments like space. Once these elements are understood they can be addressed through design using newly developed experiential, programmatic, and technological approaches. The culmination of these efforts will enable the increasingly productive and healthy inhabitation of ICE environments. Learning to dwell within ICE environments will provide healthy, long-duration habitation where humans are driven by the necessity of industry and curiosity towards the natural world. These same lessons can be applied to the confined spaces of cities and enable safer exploration of other worlds. The final goal of this branch of architecture is the independent, permanent settlement of places other than Earth and the most adversarial places on Earth itself. This dissertation will analyze the social and psychological requirements of those living within ICE environments, and how these needs may be responded to architecturally. The final product of this dissertation will be a conceptual design expanding the HI-SEAS Mars simulation experiment into a multiple phase construction project aimed at discovering the real-world requirements of design and infrastructure for the construction of a permanent Mars habitat.
Architecture, Space, Environment, Habitat
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