Beyond the Cradle 2020: Workshops


MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative

MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative (Artist's Render courtesy of Igor Neminov)

  1. Design Your Sci Fi Space Future
  2. Native Space Farer, Part III
  3. Space Architecture
  4. Space Governance
  5. Space Health
  1. Design Your Sci Fi Space Future

    Sands Fish, Space Exploration Initiative, MIT Media Lab 

    If we are to increasingly live in orbit(s), the way we design our everyday objects, interiors, and comforts will evolve. Weightlessness affords us entirely new constraints and freedoms to design within. Floors become walls that become ceilings, and objects take on an agency that they would not have when held down by gravity. These are some of the opportunities future designers will explore. This workshop will be a speculative design exercise, considering how we might design a space station from scratch in the next 100 years. We will review aspects of the current station and new design principles that will transform how we think about design in the microgravity environment.

  2. Native Space Farer, Part III

    Laura Zittrain, Designer and teacher, Majestic Yoga Studio

    Jennifer Shaw, MD, Obstetric Hospitalist, Mount Auburn Hospital, Cambridge and Atrius Health 

    Can humans have children in space? Will we develop the same in microgravity as we do on Earth? So far, studies performed on astronauts that return from extended periods of time in space show alterations in their physiology from their muscle strength down to epigenetic changes in their DNA. In this workshop we will discuss how to test the feasibility of mammalian reproduction in space, and how microgravity might affect the development of different tissues, like bone and muscle, potentially limiting the future homes of native-born space-farers. Furthermore, human civilizations have developed only on one planet: Earth, though a vast array of cultures have developed in the different environments from the arctic to the tropics. Would native space-farers feel any connection to the cultures of Earth or other planetary bodies? If we can overcome these potential barriers to human development—could we create a new cradle of civilization beyond our planet?

  3. Space Architecture

    Valentina Sumini, MIT Media Lab Postdoctoral Researcher and Space Architect

    Daniel Inocente, Senior Architectural Designer, Skidmore Owings & Merrill

    Jeffrey Montes, Space Architect, Principal, JETPORTAL 

    Vera Mulyani, CEO, Mars City Design Competition

    Georgi Petrov, Associate Director, Skidmore Owings & Merrill

    Gui Trotti, Architect; President, Trotti & Associates, Inc. (TAI)

    The human desire to explore new planets and live on other celestial bodies enabled architects to think of a new design challenge: Space Architecture. From lunar colonies to Martian ones, the actual generation of architects is envisioning the future of human space exploration through computational design, extra-terrestrial native materials, additive manufacturing, and robotic construction. Join leading Space Architects to hear about their ongoing projects and imagine your movable, deployable habitat for your deep space exploration mission on the moon and Mars! The workshop will include an open conversation and design session with the audience.

  4. Space Governance

    Mehak Sarang, Staff Researcher, MIT Media Lab/Harvard Business School

    Ibrahim Ghaznavi, Visiting Researcher, MIT Media Lab

    Kate McCall-Kiley, Director’s Fellow, MIT Media Lab

    With humanity on the brink of interplanetary life and the pace of the technological revolution challenging these systems’ viability, space offers a new way of viewing a challenging question of the future of governance in a boundless environment. We’re excited by questions like: What will governance of our interplanetary life actually look like? How will our current way of governing relate to and transition as a result of space-enabled humanity? And are there ways the space environment can help us prototype new governance realities here on Earth? This workshop seeks to play with ideas for simulating a set of governance futures in a way that enables us to visualize new paths forward. 

  5. Space Health

    Pat Pataranutaporn, Fluid Interfaces, MIT Media Lab

    Abhinandan Jain, Fluid Interfaces, MIT Media Lab

    To become an interplanetary species, humans must develop novel solutions for optimal functioning in challenging environments. Apart from the physical adaptations necessary, cognitive augmentation will be crucial as well. With the advancement of novel brain and body sensors and stimulation techniques, future wearable technology will be able to closely monitor cognitive states and intervene to enhance cognitive functions. In this workshop, we will present some of the research of the Media Lab's Fluid Interfaces group on devices that enhance attention, memory, and wellbeing, and will brainstorm novel forms of human-machine symbiosis for future space explorers.

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