Two new articles: Visual displays on ISS and the future of private space stations

Three people pose for a picture in the Russian Zvezda module. A wide variety of different items are visible on the wall behind them
From left to right, NASA astronaut Michael Barratt, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata, and Hungarian American space tourist Charles Simonyi (Expedition 19, March 28, 2009) are shown in front of the aft wall of Zvezda.


Our third scholarly article, “Visual Displays in Space Station Culture: An Archaeological Analysis,” was published today in the journal Current Anthropology. The article is open access, so there’s no paywall. The article studies how astronauts, and especially cosmonauts, have personalized their habitats through visual displays. These displays include religious items, portraits of space heroes, toys, flags, mission patches, and more. We were also able to trace the tradition of creating visual displays back through the Soviet-Russian Mir and Salyut space stations, all the way back to the 1970’s. We collaborated with a historian of Russian art, Chapman professor Wendy Salmond, on this work.

We also recently published an article about the coming series of private space stations announced by companies including Axiom Space, Blue Origin, and Nanoracks, on The Conversation website. In this piece, we ask what designers of the next-generation of space habitats have learned from previous examples, and suggest that approaches like ours will be needed to make them more livable.

There’s much more coming at the beginning of 2022, including the first archaeological experiment in space, so stay tuned!

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