Prefab Home for Deep Space
Despite a dwindling budget, N.A.S.A. is planning ahead for missions to the moon, an asteroid or Mars by engineering a habitat suitable for astronauts on long-distance missions.
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.
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