New ideas in space exploration come from all corners, and the community welcomes anyone interested in the field. After studying a city on Mars, it seems that even those who disagree with the idea that the age of space colonization is at hand will be accepted by enthusiasts. Now, someone new has joined – Daniel Akinwumi, a Nigerian graduate student at the University of Strathclyde who recently completed his master’s thesis describing the design of the „Intergalactic Hub” or I-HUB.
The introductory part of the paper presents several challenges familiar to those interested in space habitats. These include the importance of robots, a completely enclosed recycling system and new radiation protection. Mr. Akinwumi also provides a thorough literature search and mentions several design concepts such as the I-HUB.
An important design choice is how to transport the computer into space. At the time of writing, the I-HUB will use the largest rocket ever built, Starship, which is still being tested. Many of the systems selected for the I-HUB will use technologies developed elsewhere, such as NASA’s ECLSS life support system or fixed RTGs for a power source.
Food is essential for any long-term habitat, and the paper takes a close look at various food-production systems for use in space. NASA’s vegetable production system is one of the most advanced and can be used on the I-HUB with minor modifications. Propulsion is another key system, with the I-HUB behind an elaborate solar electric propulsion system that will allow it to probe its deep space target, the Earth/Sun L2 point.
Ideally, this system would be built properly, but a lot of work needs to be done on robotic assemblers before that is possible. Since sending an army of assemblers to the L2 point would be too expensive, any such assembly would have to occur near Earth. But the views from L2 will be spectacular, as the site could be a useful base for scientific investigation — it already houses several large-scale telescopes, including Euclid.
Once installed, the purpose of the I-HUB should not be static, but should continue to grow by adding additional modules over time to increase its physical and functional capacity. Modular designs of connecting modules will be critical to this feature and will be similar to how different modules connect to the ISS.
Some modules may rotate to reduce the harmful effects of microgravity on the long-term health of the I-HUB’s occupants. It will have an integrated communications system and, as mentioned above, a closed-loop recycling/life support system.
Mr. Akinwumi detailed the budgets for various systems such as electricity and mass, as well as the expected overall costs of the station. In his analysis, he revealed some of the inherent risks in the system and described how they could be mitigated with future development work. Some of these include multiple redundancies of life-support systems and various layers of radiation shielding.
Overall, the proposal for the I-HUB appears reasonable and weighs in at 71 pages – perhaps a bit more than the average MS thesis. However, those pages do not detail new ideas; It is a collection of ideas already described in other sources and is more detailed than this thesis will allow. This is a good start in a promising line of research, and Mr. Akinwumi will continue his PhD and further explore the details of his I-HUB idea.
Daniel Akinwumi – Design and analysis of technological infrastructure for a self-contained and sustainable intergalactic hub
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Artist’s rendering of the location of the I-HAB space habitat.
Thank you – Daniel Akinwumi
„Oddany rozwiązywacz problemów. Przyjazny hipsterom praktykant bekonu. Miłośnik kawy. Nieuleczalny introwertyk. Student.