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Brief Published: 24 Oct 2019

Should We Explore New Ideas for Intergalactic Living?

Brands and governments are considering the potential of space travel

More brands, institutions and governments are considering outer-space living, as global budget for space exploration will reach $20bn by 2027 (Research and Markets, 2019). We round up the new plans, products and prototypes preparing consumers for intergalactic life.

  • Space Settlements: Lunar colonies may soon be a reality, with Russia planning to establish one by 2040, and China and the US both scheduling moon missions for the 2020s. Launched in September 2019, San Francisco-based non-profit Open Lunar Foundation aims to bypass government-based projects to create a more democratic, utopian moon settlement with wider public benefits.

    Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) plans to build the first inhabitable settlement on Mars by 2117. Over the next four years, Dubai will construct its Mars Science City in the desert, comprising interconnected domes with laboratories and simulations to prepare for life on the Red Planet – see High-Octane Hubs for more.
  • Dressed for Launch: US commercial spaceflight company Virgin Galactic collaborated with American activewear brand Under Armour to launch a line of spacewear for private flights. Launched in October 2019, the clothing collection is the first to be designed specifically for private astronauts. 
    Only 22% of the global space industry is government-run (NewStatesman, 2018), incentivising brands to create products for the everyman astronaut. See Wearable Tech Show 2019 for further examples of high-tech activewear entering the mass market.
Virgin Galactic x Under Armour
Virgin Galactic x Under Armour
Virgin Galactic x Under Armour
  • A Sense of Home: UK designer Anna Talvi’s gloves are scented with personalised smells of home to comfort astronauts during lengthy missions. Talvi’s designs feature at the London Design Museum’s Moving to Mars exhibition, on display until February 2020. For more on how multisensory design can activate a sense of wellbeing and place, see The Sensory Opportunity.

As science fiction becomes science fact, brands should develop products and services that cater to manned space flight and address new challenges, from interplanetary isolation to lunar construction. Read The New Space Age for more.

Moving to Mars, Design Museum, London
Anna Talvi