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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Prefab Home for Deep Space

October 5, 2011, 12:00 PM

What's the Latest Development?

In preparation for a mission to the moon, an asteroid or Mars, N.A.S.A. is building an astronaut habitat suitable for long-distance space travel. The new habitat, called the Habitat Demonstration Unit (H.D.U.) is composed of "a hard cylinder shell with four work rooms inside: teleoperations, which includes a telerobotics workstation, a laboratory bench called GeoLab, medical operations, and a general maintenance workstation. There are two modules attached to both sides of H.D.U. One is used for dust mitigation; the second is for hygiene."

What's the Big Idea?

The H.D.U. is the astronaut's home away from home, complete with all the modern conveniences one has come to expect. The newest feature, the telerobotics station, allows astronauts convenient communication with the exploratory and fix-it robots that live in the surrounding area. Inside, artificial light allows spacemen and women to grow nutrient rich vegetables. And what space habitat is complete without a house plant? Or two? Currently, the H.D.U. is being tested in the Arizona desert and will be ready to launch within a decade.



Prefab Home for Deep Space

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