A newly created Space Colony Research Center led by Japan's first female astronaut brings cutting-edge technology to one of humanity's greatest questions: Can we live in space?
Tucked away in high-tech laboratories at Tokyo University of Science, a team of 30 researchers led by Chiaki Mukai are exploring new ways to keep people alive on a possible lunar or Martian colony.
"It's our nature Earth is too small for us, do not you think?" Asked Mukai, a petite and energetic 66-year-old who spent more than 500 hours in space on two different missions.
The exploration of human space begins a new era, Mukai said with commercial ventures like SpaceX and US President of Elon Musk Donald Trump's promise to go beyond the Moon and toward Mars.
The billionaire entrepreneur Musk has great visions for private space exploration. He sends tourists into orbit around the moon and finally colonizes Mars.
In December, Trump led the US space agency NASA is building a lunar base as a first step in a mission to Mars.
"It is very realistic to build a colony on the moon by 2030," said Mukai, who said that people need to think beyond the International Space Station. what she described as a "campsite" ̵
One of their team's innovations is a unique food production system that uses liquid plasma by passing high-voltage electricity through a saline sol
This reduces the harmful algae that are normally formed in crop water crops and tests , which simulate conditions in space, have shown that potatoes can be bred faster and more efficiently with this system.
The Space Colony Research Center has also developed a system for generating electricity using tiny thermoelectric sensors the size of an iPod Nano which can be connected to a potential colony.
The colony would be kept at comfortable room temperature, but outside it would fluctuate between 130 degrees centigrade)
The technology uses the temperature difference – heat flow – between inside and outside to sufficient Generate electricity to to supply a whole space colony, said Tsutomu Lida, who is responsible for the project.
"The same device can be used day or night, there are no moving parts, so no maintenance is required," said Lida.
Another team is working on the early detection and detection of space debris.
More than 29,000 pieces at least 10 centimeters in diameter orbit the Earth and could endanger potential space colonists
Space Flight Attendant
Mukai, the beginning of the year, the center as part of the Tokyo University of Science Many said of the technologies they work on, they have applications here on Earth.
"Not only are we developing the technology for a lunar base, but as a spin-off we will be able to solve many of the problems we need to solve on Earth." For example, she said hydroponics technology – cultivation of food without soil – could in Sub-Saharan African countries, which have no natural resources and minerals, to be valuable.
Mukai said she was "safe" to see a fully functional lunar colony in her life and itching to go back into space, as exemplified by her former colleague and US astronaut John Glenn, who was 77 years old went to orbit.
The former cardiac surgeon said with her medical expertise and extraterrestrial experience could be very useful in future commercial space tourism flights.
"My dream is to get a job as a flight attendant in a commercial space flight, so I can help get people to the moon," she said, laughing.
Monddorf the first station to Mars: ESA