Artificial ecosystem, where a simplified local model of nature will be recreated +
Natural ecosystem, where all living organisms will be delivered unchanged from the planet Earth
Designing of enclosed artificial ecosystems is one of the most urgent tasks for the whole mankind.
- Space age advent and the need to arrange comfortable and healthy conditions for human life and work in space.
- Arrangement of life on lands that are hardly suitable for humans.
- Restoration and development of the ecosystems, preservation of the biodiversity.
Biological aspects of ECH functioning
- Natural soil from the planet Earth with thousands of microorganisms (about a trillion species per 1 kg of soil) will be used.
- More than 2.500 species of plant organisms (about 2 million individuals), more than 4.000 species of animals (about 2.5 million individuals) will be involved.
- Aquatic microflora and microfauna will be arranged.
The human habitat can become comfortable only with the most complete modeling of the planet's biosphere, including the entire diversity of flora and fauna, as well as microflora and microfauna – a soil biogeocenosis with thousands of microorganisms’ species. It is impossible to create comfortable and safe living conditions in a space house without healthy (living) fertile soil, since it is the biosphere immune system. In the same way, the basis of the people’s immune system is the microflora of our intestines – it feeds, nurses, and even treats us. Trillions of microorganisms of various species live there. And each of them has its own narrow duty; therefore, it is impossible to exclude any of them from the biosphere chain of living matter circulation.
The biosphere complex of the space house should constantly produce oxygen, which is mandatory for the breathing of people and animals staying there, as well as produce healthy food and dispose all the waste products of living organisms into humus.
For a full-fledged existence in the ECH, it is necessary to provide about 1.000 m² of soil surface per capita, for the following purposes (the percentage is given approximately):
- 10% – for the oxygen production (taking into account the use of chlorella)
- 50% – for vegetable food (vegetables, fruits, garden produce, cereals, etc.)
- 40% – for animal source foods (meat, milk, cheese, etc.)
However, with modern developments and optimization of the processes (natural and technological approaches to the oxygen production, increasing soil fertility, etc.) the required soil area per capita under ECH conditions can be reduced by twice or even more.
In an enclosed artificial biosphere, it is necessary to create the most natural conditions for human habitation combined with the necessary technical achievements of the civilization.
One of the modern natural ways of space organizing, gardening, and farming is permaculture. The advantage of this approach is the use of natural technologies. The creators and adherents of this direction observe the nature, while equally estimating importance of the care about both Earth with all its living and inanimate components and people.
The basic principles of permaculture
- Harmonious interaction between all the environment elements, while each of them has certain functions and ensures the existence of other elements.
- Application of species diversity.
- Reflection of natural schemes and algorithms.
- Efficient energy planning and use of the renewable and biological resources.
It is important to preserve the conditions for human life as a part of the bioworld.
However, provision of all the necessary physical conditions for a person's life is not enough for him to be healthy.
Socio-psychological aspects of ECH functioning
In addition to physical indicators, there are also psychological ones.
When creating ECH, it is important to consider the following issues:
- A person needs opportunities for constant personal growth and self-development.
- Such usual natural elements as the expanse of the sky, distance of the horizon, ability to change the situation, and others are not available in a closed space.
- A limited social circle and inability to change it for a certain time.
- An emergency or unforeseen circumstances may arise.
- Other factors causing the change in behavior, health, and perception of a person inside a closed space.
While creating a new space for people to live in, first of all, it is necessary to prevent conditions that will cause diseases.
The criteria of selecting people to live in ECH should include the following:
- Physical characteristics of a person (health, physical fitness).
- Availability of the relevant knowledge (general and professional, about the subjects of research, etc.).
- Certain psychological qualities (personal and social).
Creation of a friendly atmosphere and selection of the participants with character traits appropriate for staying within ECH are among the factors that determine the success of the entire space exploration mission.