Self-assembling space megastructures for sustaining human life | Ariel Ekblaw and Lex Fridman | Summary and Q&A

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March 25, 2022
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Self-assembling space megastructures for sustaining human life | Ariel Ekblaw and Lex Fridman

TL;DR

The future of space architecture involves autonomous self-assembling structures that can detect and repair faults, providing redundancy and safety.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What role do swarm robots play in the future of space architecture?

Swarm robots will work in symbiosis with space habitats, detecting micrometeorite punctures, gas leaks, and other faults. The future goal is for them to also perform repairs in situ, similar to ants living in a tree connected to the spacecraft.

Q: Are distributed systems the preferred approach for space architecture?

Yes, distributed systems offer redundancy and safety, making them highly desirable for space architecture. The idea is to have decentralized nodes of a space station that can be shut off or moved in case of emergencies, such as fires or conflicts.

Q: How do self-assembling structures like Tesserae work?

Tesserae involves tiles that can autonomously dock and form structures using powerful electro-permanent magnets. The tiles have sensing capabilities to detect good and bad bonds, allowing for error detection and self-correction.

Q: What is the size of the tiles used in Tesserae?

The tiles used in Tesserae can vary in size. They have been sent to the International Space Station and were about three inches wide. However, the goal is to build human-scale tiles that are approximately 2.5 feet on edge length. The future vision is to create tiles large enough to form a 30-feet diameter buckyball.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Space habitats of the future will feature intelligent structures with sensing technology that can communicate and work in symbiosis with swarm robots to detect and repair faults.

  • The use of distributed systems in space architecture offers redundancy and safety, allowing for decentralized nodes and modular reconfigurability.

  • Tesserae is a PhD research project focused on autonomously self-assembling space architecture using tiles that can dock and form large structures.

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