Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Long Term Space Settlement

From a recent NASA report:

The recommendations set forth in the 2011 National Academy of Sciences Report, Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era call for reproductive and developmental biology research within and across generations. The workshop participants uniformly agreed that, prior to embarking on multigenerational studies, individual ‘milestones’ should be met for distinctive reproductive and developmental phases to ensure success across these life stages. As depicted in the ‘Roadmap to Multigenerational Studies’ an intermediary achievement will be a full mammalian life cycle in space, involving successful mating, pregnancy, birth, lactation, suckling, weaning, and postnatal development to adulthood. Work needs to be accomplished, starting now, in each of these areas, especially to close knowledge gaps presented on page 23 of this report. In addition to ground-based efforts, important project milestones could be achieved through a sequence of three validation flights that will also address the specific goals of: (1) Breeding, (2) Birth through Weaning, and (3) Multiple Generations. Multigenerational success is a repeating cycle of necessary milestones. The capstone of these efforts will be the first breeding, birth and development of purely spacegrown mammals opening the door to unique opportunities to investigate the role and influence of gravity on a complex organism, the rodent.

I'm using these excellent guidelines in addressing these structuring stages for long-term space settlement planners, but also adding the important cultural elements of development missing from most space biology studies (at present, that is understandable). This approach will introduce space planners to the world of biocultural evolution, as investigated by the academic field of anthropology. Diagram below is a draft for my book in production, "Principles of Space Anthropology".

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