Team Members: Anokhi Shah
Special Credit: Lokesh Pamnani
Created for BlankSpace-OuterSpace Competition 2020
Since the beginning of time, humans have looked up into the night sky and dreamed of one day being able to conquer space. Back in the 20th century, the International Space Station (ISS) was the only habitable human spaceship. Everything changed in 2010 when NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) WISE mission discovered its first asteroid at Lagrangian point L4 sharing earth's orbit: TK7 Trojan. The asteroid discovered was roughly 80 million kilometers away from Earth. The search for resources to procure an alternate source of energy beyond Earth was finally discovered. With advances in Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Spacecrafts, and satellites, asteroid drilling soon began on Trojan. The Interorbital transfer vehicle (IOTV) designed by SpaceX in 2022 made it possible to reach large distances in outer space. By 2025, the construction of the first space settlement was underway.
The nature of this Space Settlement was to act as a mediating structure for future explorations. The idea was simple. Earth need not be an isolated singularity for humankind, but to have another settlement at L4: TK7L4 Trojan. The initial phase would house thousands of people and later millions. In order for the asteroid to become a settlement, it was first worked on as a site. A number of surfaces as platforms were created for further resource extraction and for the production of life. In the 1960s, a small group at NASA had already worked out all the required engineering to precise detail, calculated required atmospheric compositions, and necessary calculations to create artificial gravity through centrifugal force. A large number of engineers, architects, designers, botanists, were brought together for the design and construction of this new settlement. A large artificial construct - a Megastructure was now underway.
The Megastructure was designed as a Distributed System. The design was along the lines of Brownian trees. These were the beginning of mathematical models of dendritic structures associated with the physical process known as diffusion-limited aggregation. A seed (asteroid surface and the shell, an artificial human construct), an initial position (a location in space), and a moving algorithm became the basis of the design. This made it possible for the addition of indefinite worlds as extensibility in space and time. This Megastructure had no outline or contour; an ever-changing pattern!
TK7L4 Trojan is home to thousands of ‘Spomes’ (or space homes). Every single Spome is a constructed world within itself. Each Spome consists of an outer shell and a base. The outer shell acts as a boundary to protect the living from hostile external environments. The base is mined of asteroid material, the source of energy and matter, mainly unique vegetation that grows necessary food and other necessities. The Spome acts as an open system Terrarium: flattening physical, biological, and cultural systems into a single isomorphic structure. Instead of shared access to space, light, and air, each Spome is an independent unit, united by the close contour of the exterior shell.
Additionally, every Spome also consists of a structural framework into which smaller units are built-in. The main structural framework has a greater lifespan compared to its smaller units. The inside of the spomes is an urban landscape littered with surrealistic architectural forms and jarring environments. Individual units are elevated above the ground, like excavating the air above. An elevated platform to reach a future datum. It is necessary to be connected to ideas on past, current, and future. The interconnections in the Spomes makes the exchange of information and matter possible. This interconnectedness also makes forms of surveillance and control a physical one, one that democratizes power as self-governed.
Cultural heterogeneity and symbiotization were given great importance while selecting who would be living on Trojan. Individuals having unique skill sets, including creatives were selected as sub-cultures to move to this futuristic space colony. Diversity is a hierarchy. According to research, a broad separation between subgroups allows for positive feedback that produces necessary differences and can increase survival rates. The Spomes were designed as a major experiment in how constructed environments produce new ways of life. How do the new aesthetics translate and mediate future worlds?
Now, 100 years later, after the first discovery of the asteroid, we are celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the first human settlements in Space. The TK7L4 Trojan is the first human megastructure in a Dimensionless point. It created a new outside for Earth. Earth is no longer an isolated singularity, but a network with the outside world which grants us an increased rate for overall human survival. Interstellar exchange is a necessary part of the production of the new. Alongside survival, the language around the development of culture and nature in space always circles around novelty. TK7L4 Trojan, an artificial construct now exists in a state of equilibrium, unique ecosystems, novel lifestyles, and the redesign of nature itself, that is allowing to change the nature of mankind forever.
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