In 1990, from 6 million kilometers away, Voyager 1 took a snapshot of our existence in the universe: a pale blue dot. In it, we saw the loneliness and impermanence of our species, a realization that continues to sustain a thriving, resonating call for the future. However, Space is not for humans. We are never meant to be there, an error in the wild. The isolation, lack of gravity, radiation and all the risks there can kill us in minutes.
What is human experience beyond the earthbound? Here, six projects form the Space Exploration Initiative of MIT Media Lab are asking the same question and bringing possibilities to the toughest, impossible space:
- A musical instrument that only plays in zero-gravity,
- pneumatic surface that morphs to embrace the human body in zero-g,
- self-assembly infrastructure for the next generation of zero gravity habitats,
- spider-like performance with the three-dimensional movements of a weightless body,
- scents that capture the memories of our homeland
- and a grappler for landing foundational infrastructure on an asteroid.
All the projects were successfully deployed and performed in a zero-gravity parabolic flight last year. They are hopes beyond solutions, imaginations more than facts. Just like generations of observers, they see our future in the stars.
All the projects are supported by the Space Exploration Initiative of MIT Media Lab.
Juliana Cherston (US)
Grappler is part of the mission concept in which a rope or a net is used to grapple onto a low-gravity body of interest.
Xin Liu (CN)
Orbit Weaver uses a hand-held device to regain control of her body and move freely through weightlessness.
Smells for Space
Ani Liu (US)
This is a set of olfactive tokens containing precious smells of Earth for future cosmonauts.
Chrisoula Kapelonis (US), Carson Smuts (ZA/US)
Spatial Flux is a seamless pneumatic surface that morphs to embrace the human body in zero gravity.
Nicole L’Huillier (CL), Sands Fish (US)
The Telemetron is a musical instrument designed explicitly for performance in the zero gravity environment of space.
Ariel Ekblaw (US)
TESSERAE demonstrates a self-assembling geodesic dome structure for future space habitats in orbit.