NASA is about to attach an inflatable space home to the International Space Station (ISS), which will remain for two years before being blasted out into space.
The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) set to be launched next week aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, can expand to almost twice its original size at the push of a button, giving ISS astronauts an additional 3.6-metre (12-feet) room to test out as a potential lunar or Martian home… Martian home I say!
William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for human exploration and operations at NASA stated the following: “As we venture deeper into space on the path to Mars, habitats that allow for long-duration stays in space will be a critical capability. Using the [ISS’s] resources, we’ll learn how humans can work effectively with this technology in space, as we continue to advance our understanding in all aspects for long-duration spaceflight aboard the orbiting laboratory.”
Astronauts will be visiting the inflatable home over the period of two years to conduct a series of tests that will measure its radiation protection, temperature variations, response to micrometeoroids and orbital debris, and other factors that could make or break its potential as the outer space home of the future.
Inflatable homes are highly promising candidates for what could become outer space homes.