A team of 30 researchers directed by Chiaki Mukai at the Tokyo University of Science are studying new methods to keep human race alive on possibly Moon or Mars.
“It’s in our nature to explore. The Earth is too small for us, don’t you think?” questioned a high-spirited and dynamic 66-year-old Mukai, who have spent more than 500 years in space on two separate missions.
With new operations like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and US President Donald Trump’s pledge to scout beyond the moon and towards Mars, Human space exploration is entering a new era, said Mukai.
Multi-billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has monumental visions for space exploration, including touring people into orbit around the moon and settling in Mars. Earlier in December, US President Donald Trump directed NASA to frame a lunar base as an infant step in a mission to Mars.
“It’s very realistic to establish a colony on the moon by 2030,” said Mukai, while stating humans need to think beyond International Space Station.
The Research Centre has developed a system to generate electricity with the help of thermoelectric sensors that could be linked to a potential colony up in space.
The colony would have comfortable room temperature but will face 130 degrees Celsius during the day and -230 at night, outside the premises.
Mukai said many of the technologies on which they are working would have applications here on Earth.
“We are not only developing the technology for a moon base but as a spin-off, we will be able to help many issues that we need to solve on Earth,” she said.
For an instance, she said hydroponic technology; growing food without soil, could be of extreme value in parts of African countries lacking natural resources and minerals.
Mukai is confident of seeing a fully-functioning moon colony in her lifetime, and wants to desperately go back into space, taking former US astronaut John Glenn and former colleague, who visited the orbit aged 77.
“My dream is to get a job as a flight attendant on a commercial spaceflight so I can help to get people to the moon,” she said.