This article originally appeared on The Conversation. The publication contributed the article to Space.com’s Voices of Experts: Op-Ed & Insights. Alice Gorman, Associate professor in archeology and space studies, Flinders University. Justin St. P. Walsh, Associate professor of art history and archeology, Chapmaneval University(ez_write_tag([[336,280],’betanews_fr-box-3′,'ezslot_1′,124,’0′,’0′]));
The 2 November marked 20 years since the first residents arrived on the International Space Station (ISS). Habitat in orbit has been occupied since then.
Twenty consecutive years of life in space make the ISS the ideal "natural laboratory" for understanding how societies operate beyond Earth.
The ISS is a collaboration between 25 space agencies and organizations. He welcomed 241 crew members and some tourists from 19 pays. It is 43% of all the people who have already traveled in space.
As future missions to the Moon and Mars are planned, knowing what people need to thrive in remote environments is important, dangerous and closed, where there is no easy way to get home.
The first fictional space station was Edward Everett Hale's "Brick Moon" in 1869. Inside were 13 spherical living rooms.
In 1929, Hermann Noordung theorized a wheel-shaped space station that would spin to create "artificial" gravity. The spinning wheel was defended by rocket specialist Wernher von Braun in the years 1950 and featured in the classic film by 1968 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Instead of spheres or wheels, real space stations turned out to be cylinders.
The first space station was the Salyout 1 of l’URSS in 1971, followed by six other stations in the Salyut program over the next decade. The United States launched its first space station, Skylab, in 1973. All of these structures were tube-shaped.
Soviet station Mir, launched in 1986, was the first to be built with a kernel to which other modules were added later. Mir was still in orbit when the first modules of the International Space Station were launched in 1998.
Mir was shot in 2001 and parted by collapsing into the atmosphere. What survived was probably found under 5000 meters of water at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
The ISS now consists of 16 modules: four russians, nine Americans, two Japanese and one European. This is the size of a five bedroom house inside, with six regular crew members serving for six months at a time.
Yuri Gagarin's journey around the Earth in 1961 proved that humans can survive in space. In fact, living in space was another matter.
Contemporary space stations don't spin to provide gravity. There is no high or low. If you drop an object, he will float. Daily activities like drinking or bathing require planning.
Points of "gravity" occur throughout the space station, in the form of hands or feet, straps, clips and Velcro points to secure people and objects.
In Russian modules, surfaces facing the Earth ("down") are olive green in color while the walls and surfaces facing the Earth ("to the top") are beige. It helps the crew to orient themselves.
Color is important in other ways too. Skylab, for example, was so lacking in color that the astronauts broke the monotony by looking at the colorful maps used to calibrate their video cameras.
In the movies, space stations are often stylish and clean. The reality is very different.
The ISS is smelly, noisy, messy and flooded with skin cells and crumbs. It's like a terrible shared house, except you can't leave, you have to work all the time and no one sleeps well.
There are however some advantages. The Cupola module offers perhaps the best view available to humans: a panorama 180 degrees of Earth passing below.
The crew use all kinds of objects to express their identity in this mini-world, as space habitats were called in a report by 1972. Unused wall space becomes like your refrigerator door, covered with objects of personal and collective importance.
In the Zvezda module, orthodox icons and images of space heroes like Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and Gagarin create a sense of belonging and connection at home.
Food plays a huge role in bonding. Food sharing rituals, for celebrating holidays and birthdays, help to form a camaraderie between crews from different national and cultural backgrounds.
Everything is not easy. In 2009, the toilet briefly became a source of international conflict when decisions on the ground banned the Russian crew from using the US toilet and exercise equipment.
In this "micro-society", technology is not just a question of function. It plays a role in social cohesion.
The ISS is extremely expensive to operate. The costs of NASA alone are 3 at 4 billion dollars a year and many say it's not worth it. Without further commercial investments, the ISS could be desorbed by 2028 and sent to the bottom of the ocean to join Mir.
The next stage in the life of the space station will likely occur in orbit around the moon. The Lunar Gateway project, planned by a group of space agencies led by NASA, will be smaller than the ISS. Crews will live on board for up to one month at a time.
Its modules, based on the ISS design, are expected to be launched into lunar orbit within the next decade.
A preliminary habitat design for the lunar bridge includes four expandable crew cabins, to give people a little more space. But the sleeping areas, of exercise, latrine and catering are all much closer to each other.
Read more: Living in a bubble: inflatable modules could be the future of space habitats
Since ISS crews love to create improvised visual displays, we could suggest including spaces reserved for such displays in new generation habitats.
In popular culture, the ISS has become Santa's sleigh. These last years, of parents around the world took their children outside on Christmas Eve to spot the ISS passing overhead.
The ISS shaped the space culture of the 20th and 21st centuries, symbolizing international cooperation after the cold war. He still has a lot to teach us about how to live in space.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
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Space, Bacteria, International Space Station, Deinococcus radiodurans
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