Space is an extremely hostile environment for humans. But it is also a place of inspiration and discovery. In The Wonders and Challenges of Human Space Flight, we will feature experts from different fields addressing the contemporary challenges and the history of human experience in space.
How does prolonged weightlessness affect the body? What has medicine taught us about our adaptation to these conditions? Astronauts need regular meals and look forward to them but the experience of eating in space is radically different. How can we enhance the experience of space food to establish an emotional link with home. How well does simulation and training prepare astronauts for the experience of micro-gravity and how do our brains know which way is up, or where we are at any time? Are astronauts fundamentally changed as people by their experience of the earth from space?
In exploring the many dimensions of human space flight, we shall focus on the culinary, ethical, medical, psychological, and sensory effects of space on humans. We shall hear from psychologists who advised NASA, from medics preparing astronauts for missions on the International Space Station, and from chefs and food technologists about crafting food to enjoy in space.
We will hear from philosophers and neuroscientists about the changes that occur in the mind and the body of astronauts as they gaze at the blue globe. We will ponder the challenges of spending years in space on a future Mars mission, and debate whether a one-way mission to Mars is ethically acceptable.
*A draft program will be available in the new year.
The Conference is a collaboration between the Arts and Humanities Research Council (Science in Culture and Digital Transformations Themes), The Science Museum, the Dana Centre, and the UK Space Agency.