Space Café Podcast

Georgi Petrov: Architecting New Worlds – Conversations on Designing for Space Habitation

March 26, 2024 Markus Mooslechner, Georgi Petrov Season 1 Episode 103
Georgi Petrov: Architecting New Worlds – Conversations on Designing for Space Habitation
Space Café Podcast
More Info
Space Café Podcast
Georgi Petrov: Architecting New Worlds – Conversations on Designing for Space Habitation
Mar 26, 2024 Season 1 Episode 103
Markus Mooslechner, Georgi Petrov

SpaceWatch.Global is pleased to present: The Space Café Podcast #103:

Join Markus Mooslechner, our host at Space Cafe Podcast, for an enlightening discussion with Georgi Petrov, a senior associate principal at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and an adjunct professor at NYU and MIT. Georgi is at the forefront of integrating architectural design with structural engineering to create sustainable habitats beyond Earth. From envisioning the sunrise over Mars to the detailed design of a Moon Village, this episode is a contemplative journey into space habitation and its intricate connection to our lives on Earth.

Key Topics Covered:

·       🔹 The vision and challenges of space habitation.

·       🔹 Space architecture's influence on terrestrial design principles.

·       🔹 The psychological importance of windows in space habitats.

·       🔹 The role of plants and natural materials in space environments.

·       🔹 The intersection of practicality and aesthetics in designing for extreme environments.

Memorable Quotes:

·       "Waking up to the sunrise over a Himalayan peak... witnessing the celestial dance... is a reminder of the ultimate entertainment nature provides."

·       "Every molecule counts in space design, much like every decision carries weight for our planet's future."

Must-Click Links:

·       🔹 Learn More About Space Habitation: Georgi Petrov

·       🔹 Explore Synthesis International: Synthesis International

·       🔹 Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Featured Music:

·       🔹 "With a Little Help From My Friends" by The Beatles, symbolizing camaraderie and support in the vastness of space.

Follow Our Journey:

·       🌌 Host: Markus Mooslechner

·       🌌 Guest: Georgi Petrov

About Us: SpaceWatch.Global is a magazine and portal dedicated to the space sector. Our passionate team ensures insightful coverage of space developments, inspiring a deeper public understanding of space activities.

Contact Us:

·       Website: www.spacewatch.global

·       Email: podcast@spacewatch.global

·       Exclusive Distribution Partner: Bookwire - www.bookwire.de


Send us a Text Message.

You can find us on Spotify and Apple Podcast!

Please visit us at
SpaceWatch.Global, subscribe to our newsletters. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter!

Show Notes Transcript

SpaceWatch.Global is pleased to present: The Space Café Podcast #103:

Join Markus Mooslechner, our host at Space Cafe Podcast, for an enlightening discussion with Georgi Petrov, a senior associate principal at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and an adjunct professor at NYU and MIT. Georgi is at the forefront of integrating architectural design with structural engineering to create sustainable habitats beyond Earth. From envisioning the sunrise over Mars to the detailed design of a Moon Village, this episode is a contemplative journey into space habitation and its intricate connection to our lives on Earth.

Key Topics Covered:

·       🔹 The vision and challenges of space habitation.

·       🔹 Space architecture's influence on terrestrial design principles.

·       🔹 The psychological importance of windows in space habitats.

·       🔹 The role of plants and natural materials in space environments.

·       🔹 The intersection of practicality and aesthetics in designing for extreme environments.

Memorable Quotes:

·       "Waking up to the sunrise over a Himalayan peak... witnessing the celestial dance... is a reminder of the ultimate entertainment nature provides."

·       "Every molecule counts in space design, much like every decision carries weight for our planet's future."

Must-Click Links:

·       🔹 Learn More About Space Habitation: Georgi Petrov

·       🔹 Explore Synthesis International: Synthesis International

·       🔹 Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Featured Music:

·       🔹 "With a Little Help From My Friends" by The Beatles, symbolizing camaraderie and support in the vastness of space.

Follow Our Journey:

·       🌌 Host: Markus Mooslechner

·       🌌 Guest: Georgi Petrov

About Us: SpaceWatch.Global is a magazine and portal dedicated to the space sector. Our passionate team ensures insightful coverage of space developments, inspiring a deeper public understanding of space activities.

Contact Us:

·       Website: www.spacewatch.global

·       Email: podcast@spacewatch.global

·       Exclusive Distribution Partner: Bookwire - www.bookwire.de


Send us a Text Message.

You can find us on Spotify and Apple Podcast!

Please visit us at
SpaceWatch.Global, subscribe to our newsletters. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter!

[00:00:00]

[00:00:04] Markus: Hello, everyone. This is Space Cafe Podcast, and I am Markus. In case you're in a safe environment, not driving, not running downhill, not doing something dangerous like hiking across a ledge, why, why don't you close your eyes for a moment? Try to picture where you are right now. The smell, The noise, the taste, the vibration, the feel of your surroundings.

[00:00:50] What makes this place special? What makes it unique? Now imagine this place is on another celestial body, like the moon or mars. Picture how it might be different right now. Would it smell different? Would the place feel different? And now, What would you not want to miss from the place you are in right now, if you were to live on another celestial body?

[00:01:24] these are some of the thoughts that today's guest of the Space Cafe Podcast challenges himself professionally with. Georgi Petrov, a senior associate principal at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, And an adjunct professor at NYU and MIT spearheads initiatives that merge structural engineering with avant garde architectural design, aiming to create sustainable habitats for life in outer space.

[00:01:58] As we stand at the cusp of viewing our planet, not as a given, but as a choice, we need to start thinking about how we want to live. out there in the vastness of space. So picture this again. Your new front porch offers the best sunrise you've ever seen over the red horizon of Mars. Your windows don't just light in light.

[00:02:28] They frame those swirling galaxies as your backdrop. And your daily commute? let's just say it might involve a spacewalk. Or two. But it's not all science fiction. It's the future Georgi is helping to build. And as we chat, imagine how your routines, hobbies, and even your sense of community would transform.

[00:02:54] How do you throw a dinner party when your guests are from different gravity zones? This episode is more than a conversation, It's a first step into a life where Earth is a choice, and not a given. Let's dive into the art of the possible, where every one of us has a place, be it on this planet or another.

[00:03:19] By the end, who knows, you might just be planning your space housewarming party. Welcome Georgi Petrov to the Space Cafe Podcast. 

[00:03:36] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: Thank you for the invitation, it's very cool to, to speak with you.

[00:03:39] SCP_103_Markus_raw: Let's find out, I hope you, you can say the same things once we're done.

[00:03:43] I'm sure. So,

[00:03:45] space architecture, this is what, um, you're known for, for many, many great projects, so what brings you originally into that dimension?

[00:03:54] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: That's a very good question. Uh, I mean, it's a long story. I, I'm of the generation that, uh, grew up when I was little watching Carl Sagan and, uh, most of my thoughts of space, uh, you know, there's the millions of us inspired. Um, but eventually when I chose a career, I ended up with architecture.

[00:04:14] Uh, I was good at drawing and my parents are physicists, so I was good at math. Um, eventually. I was inspired to, you know, do both, um, 20 or 25 years ago when I was starting to think about merging architecture and outer space, uh, it was a much more, um, alone field, a field that there wasn't much help, uh, so I had to kind of chart my own course through it.

[00:04:41] Uh, but, uh, these days, uh, there's more and more people that are interested in, in designing, uh, for habitats for, for outer space. And, um, another thing is, you know, space architects, uh, or people trained as architects that are involved in constructing environments for outer space have been around for a while.

[00:05:02] Um, there's, um, some of our, uh, Earliest, uh, architects were, you know, in the early seventies, um, the part, you know, partially the, the layout of the, um, modules of the International Space Station had, uh, input by space architects. One of the seminal projects is, uh, Transhab, which was a project project from NASA, uh, to do a habitat for the International Space Station.

[00:05:28] Unfortunately, it didn't fly, but it was developed quite a bit. And there were two architects, Constance Adams and Chris Kennedy, who were instrumental in the internal layout of it. And, um, they were Pioneers working in the room with all of the engineers and the final layout of the design for TransHab had a lot of influence of what the architects were suggesting how to lay it out.

[00:05:52] Uh, and that project, although it didn't fly, has inspired a lot of work, uh, recently in the last 10 years, uh, there was a company called Bigelow that was taking up and developing it, uh, with the patents that were developed by TransHab and now. Uh, Sierra Nevada Space, uh, is, uh, uh, taking the mantle and it's, it's testing the technology and there's some pretty cool videos in the last year where they're actually blowing up, uh, you know, testing to failure.

[00:06:20] Uh, so these days being a space architect, uh, is, is not so lonely, uh, of a field, uh, as it is when I, when I started. What?

[00:06:28] SCP_103_Markus_raw: What projects are coming up these days? Because it seems like that space is becoming commercialized. 

[00:06:36] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: Uh, the,

[00:06:37] the, the interesting thing is that, uh, you know, NASA's goal is, for example, in ISA and, and all the other space agencies to do things that, uh, have not been done before. Right. With the, the resources. And they, they take their time. Uh, but you know, we've been in low Earth orbit for 50 years now, so, uh.

[00:06:56] You know, I think 20 years ago, NASA finally started to give the mantle of work in low Earth orbit to try to bring commercial, um, entities, uh, to do some of the work that they've already done. And so they could concentrate on getting us back further out into the solar system. And so, um,

[00:07:14] seems

[00:07:15] I think it's very exciting that we have all of these next generation space stations being developed.

[00:07:20] You know, some of them, uh, Call themselves Hotel and I'm a little bit suspicious of them, but the more serious ones by, uh, Axiom and, um, you know, Blue Origin, um, you know, some of them, they're already building, uh, hardware and I, I'm happy to say that both Blue Origin and Axiom have, uh, a number of, uh, people that are trained as architects on their staff.

[00:07:44] Uh, uh, so we're, you're a field that's getting established and, uh, I think we've kind of proven that there's a value of us people trained as architects to be at the table when we're designing the next generation space stations. And um, I think for both the Axiom and the Blue Origin ones, you know, if they end up flying, there will be You know, more than just hotels, uh, I think both of their, um, business model is to try to be a platform for many different activities to happen.

[00:08:19] Uh, you can't just stake your, uh, your ground only on, you know, tourism and things like that. So I think in both of their business models involves more than one, uh, client.

[00:08:31] We know a 

[00:08:31] SCP_103_Markus_raw: little bit, or the audience the listeners know a little bit what the International Space looks like from an architectural perspective. So what's different now with new projects that you're talking about?

[00:08:46] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: I think, um, I mean, the Axiom One is, is meant to first attach to the International Space Station. So it's, it's very much in the same, um, type of structure, the International Space Station. And then if, if it all goes well, it will eventually, uh, detach and become its own, uh, free floating, um, space station. Uh, I really like the, uh, Orbital Reef concept by the Blue Origin, where it has a central infrastructure band, uh, and then off of it could come up, uh, all sorts of different attachments.

[00:09:22] And so it gives, uh, the, the infrastructure that then would enable a lot of different technologies to happen. So, uh, if, and I think in the renderings, it shows a variety of different modules attached to the central spine. Uh, so that, I think that's a pretty cool, um, you know, Part T, or, you know, Master Plan, if you want to call it that, is the equivalent of a terrestrial city.

[00:09:49] SCP_103_Markus_raw: are those places still, zero Gravity or is Gravity also something artificial gravity that is factored into new designs? I

[00:09:58] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: I think the ones that are coming up, uh, besides these two that I've mentioned, you know, there's four or five in various stages of, uh, realism and, uh, advancement, uh, they're all for, um, zero, microgravity. Um, I. There's been a lot of research, uh, one of the leading space architects is called Ted Hall, uh, who has published a lot of papers on how to deal with artificial gravity.

[00:10:23] Uh, but he's not the only one. There's a lot of people have discussed it, but I think that's a little bit further down into the, on the future. Uh, it's, it's more complex, uh, yet. I'm looking forward to seeing it because, uh, one very interesting part for me is that obviously, you know, we have a lot of data of how humans behave in one gravity, right?

[00:10:44] Exactly.

[00:10:45] where we're involved. Uh, and we have quite a bit of data of, uh, you know, in the last, um, 70 years of how the human body behaves at zero gravity. Uh, but we have almost no data of what happens in between. You know, we have a few days of data from, uh, people being on the moon's surface. Uh, but other than that, nothing.

[00:11:06] So on one G, obviously we know we can live for a long time at zero G we know that all sorts of bad stuff happens, but we don't know, uh, at what percentage of G. Is it a linear relationship? Is it, is there some, uh, partial gravity that the minimum partial gravity, uh, that, uh, obviates all of the dangerous effects of zero gravity.

[00:11:32] Um, and that is really key if we're. So, I'm going to be spending a lot of time on the moon, on Mars, you know, if you want to send people to moon or Mars, you want to know how, what's going to happen to them. And so is Martian gravity enough to make us be okay? Is lunar gravity okay? So, the. Uh, promise of a partial G space station would be to study this before we have to send people all the way to the moon or Mars.

[00:11:57] So I'm, I'm looking forward to seeing one, but I don't think anybody's planning on building one anytime soon.

[00:12:03] SCP_103_Markus_raw: Have you watched the, um, For All Mankind series on Apple

[00:12:06] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: I have not.

[00:12:07] SCP_103_Markus_raw: haven't, I was, I was just going to ask if this is accurate to you.

[00:12:11] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: they have a partial G

[00:12:13] SCP_103_Markus_raw: No, no, they have, they have, a city, a village on Mars and they're walking around quite normally, like, we're uh, walking around on earth.

[00:12:21] So I'm just wondering is, is Mars gravity so similar to earth gravity?

[00:12:27] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: I would, I mean, it's, uh, about 34, 35%. I think it's closer to our moon's gravity, which is 1.

[00:12:34] SCP_103_Markus_raw: walking around.

[00:12:36] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: Well, the, uh, on the moon, the NASA astronauts, Apollo astronauts, uh, devised this little hop actually as the most efficient way to move around. It wasn't walking, it wasn't running. It was kind of this double sided hop. And, um, so that is a very interesting question because, you know, I've designed habitats, which I think would work, but nobody knows if what the exact ceiling height is, for example, are people going to need taller ceilings because they're bouncing up? I know there were, um, back in the NASA, uh, Apollo days.

[00:13:15] Uh, some attempts to recreate with contraptions, uh, partial gravity, uh, and test people to walk, uh, in them, but I, I don't know how, um, how viable the data is in, in just everyday experiences. Uh, uh, the, actually the, the other, uh, Um, venue for testing partial gravity is this, uh, but those give you only, you know, 20 to 30 seconds of a particular gravity at any one time, which is not zero, but it's, it's not enough to really test, uh, um, you know, architectural experiences.

[00:13:52] SCP_103_Markus_raw: you designed also for the moon, right? The Moon Habitat. So in how far is that different to our regular, um, Places on earth that we're used to, like that cubicle we're here in, or a typical, a typical office, or where is space architecture, moon architecture, different?

[00:14:14] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: So the project you're referring to is a collaboration we had at my company, Skidmore Eastern Maryland, the European Space Agency, to give a vision to, um, Jan Werner's vision of the Moon Village. And, uh, we approached it at, at several different levels. Uh, one is a, a sort of a master planning, uh, urban planning, uh, level of, uh, how would you like to, um, Lay out your habitats if you're planning on having a growing, uh, community on the

[00:14:44] the way, what does 

[00:14:44] SCP_103_Markus_raw: village mean? Is this a village, village? It's

[00:14:47] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: perfect. Excellent question. Sorry. Let me, let's back up. Uh, so around 2015 is when, um, Jan Werner, who was then the Director General of the European Space Agency, came up with this idea of a moon village. And basically it's, it's, um Trying to go back to the moon in the spirit or the paradigm of the International Space Station, where, uh, a number of different players are coming together, sharing infrastructure, uh, and then doing different things.

[00:15:17] So in the International Space Station, there's You know, a common infrastructure of power, um, you know, um, and, um, cleaning the atmosphere and so on and so forth. And for example, you know, the European Space Agency or the Japanese Space Agency, they have both have modules at the ISS, but they didn't have to bring everything, they didn't have to build solar panels, they didn't have to build the heat rejection system, all that, that, that infrastructure was there.

[00:15:42] So Jan Werner's idea is that we should, you know, take this and go to the moon in that spirit, where we have a shared infrastructure of power. common elements and then different entities can go and work together on the moon as opposed to the way we went to the moon during Apollo, which was, you know, it's me versus you and a confrontation.

[00:16:03] And he, I mean, in the end of it, it's a branding. He branded it the Moon Village. So our mission with them was to give some architectural form of what is this

[00:16:15] as the moon direction can go.

[00:16:17] And, uh, we found a particular location on the moon, um, in the last, you know, 10, 15 years. It's become obvious to everybody that the South Pole is the most exciting place to be.

[00:16:28] So we found a very particular place on the South Pole and we kind of laid out where you want to put the habitats. Where do you

[00:16:34] SCP_103_Markus_raw: Is it, is it underground or is it a lava

[00:16:37] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: no, uh, no, not, uh, not a lava tube. We can touch on lava

[00:16:41] Yeah, yeah,

[00:16:42] but it's on the surface. Um, uh, and then. You know, we also, uh, um, looked at a specific habitat to give, um, you know, a precedent, like what would the first habitat look like?

[00:16:55] And then we even looked at, you know, certain details of how you put together windows and things like that. So we worked on, on many different scales on the, the South Pole and the moon, from master planning to an individual habitat. Um, It's on the surface, uh, because, uh, you know, partially because, you know, if you go to the moon, you want to be able to experience it, uh, and not be buried.

[00:17:20] Uh, lava tubes are interesting, but, uh, We know they exist, but they're not typically in the places we wanna go. Uh, the, the South Pole is very interesting both scientifically because there's very good evidence that there's, uh, volatiles in water. And they're interesting because, uh, they're been there for billions of years.

[00:17:41] So they're kind of like a, a scientific record of the early solar system. Um, they're also a very interesting, because they're a resource, uh, which does not exist on other parts of the moon. Um, there's a. You know, a quote that I like to. Reference is that if we find concrete on the moon, we mine it for the water.

[00:18:00] You know, it's so dry. Uh, but on the South pole, it's, it's still hard to get cause it's very frozen. Uh, it's still not just running brooks and things like that, but it is there. Uh, and if you have, you know, water. And hopefully other organic matter, uh, you can, you know, uh, have oxygen for drink, for breathing.

[00:18:23] Uh, if you bring carbon, uh, and nitrogen, you could do organic stuff, fertilizers. So you have the material that's needed to sustain a base there. So it's both interesting scientifically and because we have the resources to, to actually sustain humans there.

[00:18:39] SCP_103_Markus_raw: if I were to melt, um, ice from the South Pole, would I immediately be able to drink it? Is it potable water or does 

[00:18:47] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: it need to be treated?

[00:18:48] Ooh, that is, that is what we want to go and find out. We don't know. Uh, in fact, most of our, uh, evidence that there's water is sort of indirect. Uh, so that is the reason why we want to send drovers and humans to find out what it is exactly. Uh, my guess is it would have to be purified and it's, uh, that it's mixed in with the regolith, which is not a very nice substance.

[00:19:12] Uh, uh, but, um, that is what, why it's exciting to go, to go and find out.

[00:19:19] SCP_103_Markus_raw: Fantastic. A podcast is the most visual medium, a lot more visual than film because it leaves space for the imagination. Now, why don't you walk us through that moon village, what it looks like on the inside, you open the front door, what does it look like? And where is it different to, again, terrestrial 

[00:19:40] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: buildings?

[00:19:41] okay. So, um, the habitat that we designed in detail, uh, the first one. And so by definition, it had to have everything in it. Uh, and so it's, uh, um, a vertically oriented, uh, habitat with four levels. Uh, on the ground level, uh, there's the airlocks and connections to other future habitats. Uh, that's where you would probably have a workshop for, uh, mending your spacesuits, uh, and all sorts of other equipment that you need to access the surface.

[00:20:14] One level up. Uh, would be, uh, uh, Scientific Web, where, um, you would, you know, Uh, do most of the work during the day, uh, both for science and also organizing your expedition and planning like a command center. And then the next level up would be the private crew quarters for four, uh, with, um, hygiene station and a cooking station, things like that.

[00:20:40] And then on the top, we provided a, uh, sort of an experimental greenhouse, uh, where, you know, we would be both using the plants as a, um, Psychological benefit, but also hopefully doing experiments to learn how to grow plants in the, in the, in the future on the moon. But like any, um, community on earth, once you have more than one house or enclosure, uh, I think my vision is that, You would start to specialize them.

[00:21:10] So you'd probably have one that's just for work and science, one for just for habitation and relaxation, probably another one for storage. If you actually look at the ISS, a large part of the volume is just storing stuff that you need. Um, but besides these, uh, sort of,

[00:21:29] uh,

[00:21:30] um, you know, engineering and technological requirements, we also try to in impose a little bit of poetry into it.

[00:21:39] So, uh, one interesting bit, for example, is that on the South pole, uh, the earth is always located in the same locate part of the sky, right? The, we always see the same face of the moon from the earth. Meaning that when you're on the moon surface, the earth is always in the same location. It doesn't circle around.

[00:21:59] It kind of wobbles throughout the year, but you can see this beautiful, uh, blue marble kind of spinning there. And so our thinking was that, well, we should arrange the habitat in the master plan so that all of them have this view of the earth. And not only that, um, you know, whenever humans go to a new place, they drive around everywhere, they make kind of a mess.

[00:22:21] So to prevent that, we were thinking that maybe the part of the lunar surface near the habitat that is facing this beautiful view of the earth, uh, would be kind of, uh, a Cordoned off as a pristine lunar park. So your habitat always has this beautiful view of the earth and disturbed moon and all of the, um, bits that we need to, to make the habitat work and all of the exploration, what happened in the other direction away from the earth.

[00:22:48] Um, so. You know, as architects, we try to have some idea of placemaking, right? It's not just keeping the people alive, but giving them a sense of identity. You know, every town on earth has a, um, icon that they, they aspire to. So that would, I was thinking that maybe this view of the habitat through the moon to the earth would be kind of the iconic image of the moon village.

[00:23:16] You know, if I show you a picture of Central Park, you exactly know where, you know, what I'm talking about and where it is or something like that, so. 

[00:23:22] SCP_103_Markus_raw: Exactly.

[00:23:23] what is the village made out of? Um, so what's the building material?

[00:23:29] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: So, um. You know, part of the reason to go there, besides the science, is to learn how to live on the moon and practice for Mars. And one important part of, um, having a habitat or growing a sustainable habitat on another planet is to use the resources there as much as possible. Um, and so there's a lot of work on, uh, ISRU, what we call in situ resource utilization, trying to use the stuff that's there.

[00:23:59] Uh, and so I think. I, I see that one main reason for going there is to learn how to use this. And so people are talking about 3D printing using regular earth or making, uh, building blocks and using robots to build them. So. Early on, it would probably be, uh, some of the more basic elements like foundations or roads, uh, would be made out of this stuff.

[00:24:24] Um, then another thing that you could use, uh, on the South Pole of the moon is the water. And if you have oxygen and hydrogen and you maybe. bring carbon, or there's some carbon there already, um, you can synthesize a lot of polymers, uh, that hopefully then you could 3d print furniture and things like that.

[00:24:45] But, uh, I think it would be a long time before we stop needing stuff from Earth.

[00:24:51] Mm.

[00:24:52] So, um, one of the biggest challenges is containing the atmospheric pressure, right? Outside is vacuum, inside is, you know, maybe not, um, sea level atmosphere, but even higher up. And, uh, containing the atmospheric pressure is very hard.

[00:25:11] It's probably an order of magnitude, like 10 times more force than what we're designing the floor that we're standing on here, uh, in order to hold the atmosphere. If, uh, if outside this room was a vacuum, uh, you would not be able to have these big flat walls. Uh, for example, that's why everything in space looks this rounded thing.

[00:25:31] That's not just, uh, aesthetics. That is to be able to contain the pressure. Uh, that's why windows, flat windows are so small because taking this enormous pressure and bending is almost very, very, very

[00:25:44] very hard. So,

[00:25:46] um, building pressure vessels to hold the atmosphere on the moon would probably be quite out into the future.

[00:25:54] Um, you know, and. Yeah, with 3D printing, you have some good strength in the direction of the material you're laying out, but between the layers, material is still pretty weak. So, uh, I think it'd be a while till we figure out a 3D print, a pressure vessel on the moon. So inevitably it will be a mixture of things you bring from the earth and things you find on the moon.

[00:26:18] Uh, and things you bring from the earth will probably look pretty similar to what we have already. Except for inflatable habitats, uh, that I mentioned, the Transhab, uh, and the, the new modules that Sierra Nevada is working on. Those, um, would probably be something that we haven't seen yet. Uh, there is, there is, uh, a kind of a demonstration one, uh, that's attached to the International Space Station right now.

[00:26:44] It's called BEAM. It's by Bigelow. Um, they kind of use it as storage as an experiment. It's still currently up, but, uh, I,

[00:26:53] in and out

[00:26:54] It works. Yeah. Astronauts go in and out of it. I don't think they use it permanently. Uh, they kind of, I've seen videos of them going in. It's, they kind of use it as storage, which is always nice

[00:27:05] I

[00:27:12] good. Uh, so I think on the moon we'll see more of that.

[00:27:16] but 

[00:27:17] SCP_103_Markus_raw: that would be your obvious choice, I guess, inflatables because you can just shrink wrap it on earth and then bring it to the moon and inflate it.

[00:27:26] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: that is the benefit. That is one of the big, another big challenge of being, uh, an architect to design for space is that, uh, the method of getting the habitat there has a big influence on design, right? Everything has to fit in the rocket. And so that's the benefit of inflatables. You can package them to fit in the rocket, but then, uh, Uh, you know, inflate and be much, much bigger, give you a lot more volume when you get there.

[00:27:49] Uh, you know, the challenge with them is that, that adds more complexity, right, than a rigid, um, there's an extra step in deploying it than a rigid, uh, habitat. So, uh, you know. We're getting there, but I think, um, the technology is, is, is proven. And, uh, I think we'll see inflatables, um, in outer space pretty soon, like human rated ones.

[00:28:13] SCP_103_Markus_raw: Fantastic. what is it looking like on the inside? Um, because from the space station, we get the impression that astronauts like it messy, um, because there's no, no covers on the walls and you see the wires and, and, and everything underneath. So, um, if we compare that to Star Trek, where everything is very, very tidy and clean.

[00:28:42] so what does it look like on the inside to

[00:28:45] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: I, I, I think, um, it would probably end up looking quite a bit like the International Space Station because you're so constrained on space. Like, um, you know, on Star Trek, they have these big corridors with nothing. You know, you, uh, we will, we will, it will take a while for us to get there. Um, but as, as space architects, uh, we have been working on how to make it more, um, Comfy and cozy and more, uh, inviting.

[00:29:16] I think the, the laboratory areas where the experiments are done would probably end up being quite cluttered as well. But then, uh, the private crew quarters, even on the ISS, the private crew quarters are a lot cleaner and a lot, uh, uh, more organized. The, the key thing that architects can bring is a sense of materiality and a sense of color.

[00:29:39] a

[00:29:39] Um, right now, you know. The ISS, it's, it's all

[00:29:44] all plastic and metal. So

[00:29:46] plastic and metal, there's a pretty, pretty stringent requirement of what kind of material you can bring up there to see you don't mess up the atmosphere. But one key thing in longer term habitation, I think, is other, other species. Uh, you know, most of our science fiction, like Star Trek, uh, or Star Wars or whatever you choose it, it's, it's always.

[00:30:10] Humans and their machines going out to take over the universe. You never see any other species. I think in reality, uh, both out of physical necessity and psychological necessity, it would be humans and other species and, and particular plants. Uh, you know, higher animals take a lot more, it would be harder, but definitely the integration of plants would be key.

[00:30:34] And, and that's something I've been thinking of even since my, uh, My architecture thesis, uh, 20 some years ago is various ways to integrate, uh, plants into the insides of a

[00:30:46] like 

[00:30:46] SCP_103_Markus_raw: living walls or?

[00:30:49] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: Living walls or, um, you know, especially in front of windows, I have this, again, poetic image, uh, that in all of the crew quarters, in front of their windows, uh, should have a place to grow plants, uh, or somebody can, you can take care of this, uh, if they want to from, yeah, from a psychological point of view, um, If they want to.

[00:31:12] I know some people are scared of taking off plants 'cause they're gonna kill them and it's gonna demoralize them more. But there's definitely people that love to take care, uh, uh, of plants. And you can see it on the International Space Station in the, you know, last few years there've been a lot of experiments of growing various types of food.

[00:31:30] And every time they do the harvest, it's like a big celebration and you see the smiles of the Jesuses 'cause it's like new smells. and new tastes, uh, and it's, uh, it brings a lot of joy and excitement and they, they, they make a big event of it. You know, the last year they, they harvested some peppers and a few years ago, some lettuce.

[00:31:50] So that type of thing, not just as an experiment, but more as the overall integration into the architecture.

[00:31:57] more as the

[00:31:58] Now talking about plants, you know, if we're talking about really

[00:32:01] movies, so it would

[00:32:03] Trying to close the loop as much as possible and have people long term, you would need to find a way to grow a lot of food. And it, it would probably be a lot more mechanized and things like that.

[00:32:15] But again, we have a nice precedence here on earth. Uh, you know, the greenhouse at, um, the South Pole station is a pretty popular place. It's a small room, but they do grow, for the winter overcool, uh, some fresh produce there. And it's,

[00:32:32] So that's a 

[00:32:32] SCP_103_Markus_raw: proof, proof that it works.

[00:32:34] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: yeah, definitely. Um, you know, we, I can't say we've figured out exactly how to do it, but, uh, uh, there's a lot of experiments still need to be done, but I think integration of other species, uh, into the habitat will be something that is different than ISS,

[00:32:52] SCP_103_Markus_raw: Yeah. So how was you designed with your team, the moon village? How was, uh, how was it received? Received by isa? So how did they

[00:33:00] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: Oh, it was great. Um, uh, we, we got

[00:33:03] SCP_103_Markus_raw: brought your, your little model

[00:33:05] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: Yeah. Uh, well, uh, the most rewarding part was that, um, they in, in their Aztec, their big technical center in the Netherlands, uh, they have this thing called concurrent design facility where they put together, uh, a team. team of experts and they evaluate, uh, their missions.

[00:33:23] It's mostly done for their scientific missions where they, uh, but they put this team together and evaluated our design. So we spent about a month and a half right before the pandemic, uh, where we had a team of about 20 or so ESA experts in, in radiation, in structures, in thermal performance, we had a space architect, uh, in, um, delivery, rockets.

[00:33:48] SCP_103_Markus_raw: They would dissect

[00:33:50] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: Yes. And, and we spent a lot of time going over and they, they published, uh, uh, because it's ESA, everything is shared publicly. So there is a pretty extensive report, uh, on our design.

[00:34:02] SCP_103_Markus_raw: how was, how was that for you at that moment? Are you biting nails for a 

[00:34:06] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: month?

[00:34:07] No, no, we loved it because it gave it a lot more realism and pointed out to things we would do in the future.

[00:34:14] Um, so it was, it was a great experience. Uh, we also. Along with that, got invited to participate at the Venice Biennale two years ago. Uh, and we had, um, we were going to build a full scale replica in an artist, artistic version, right? It's not a, not a technical mock up, uh, but because of the pandemic at the end, uh, we Couldn't quite pull it off.

[00:34:37] So we ended up participating with some, uh, skilled models and a nice video that was narrated by Jeff Huffman, who's a former astronaut, uh, and was an advisor on our team as well. So, uh, so we pop, uh, it's spread it quite widely, the thing.

[00:34:52] SCP_103_Markus_raw: It would make a fantastic, um, traveling exhibition, um, to also engage the public with, with such concepts.

[00:35:01] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: Uh, we have a version of it right now. It opened in Paris at the Cité de Sciences, uh, which will be up for eight or nine years, uh, to have a new exhibit. Just opened last October. Uh, and there's a number, we are participating, but there's a number of other big architecture firms and they have some models and exhibits and things like that.

[00:35:21] So, um, if you're in Paris, go check it out.

[00:35:24] Good, good, good. So 

[00:35:25] SCP_103_Markus_raw: what up next with, with the Moon Village, when, when will it be built to, uh, to the full extent?

[00:35:31] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: that, that, uh, um. Uh, project is kind of, uh, done. Uh, we, we, we published a report with, uh, Estec and, uh, we've published, I think, seven or eight technical papers out there. Uh, we're looking for the, the next project, uh, to do with, uh, either a NASA or one of the commercial space stations, hopefully. Uh, so, um, taking it to the next step and giving it more, more realism.

[00:35:58] And, uh, we're hoping to be involved, uh, coming up.

[00:36:01] SCP_103_Markus_raw: Fantastic. So what do you make of what is going on, uh, in space because it feels like that humans are getting ready to leave the planet. Um, do you think that we're in that process?

[00:36:15] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: Um, yes, uh, NASA is committed to sending humans next year to, or to orbit. And then hopefully a year after that to land. Uh, they've picked the crews already for the orbiting mission. Um, so, I'm hoping to, that we would go there in the spirit of the Moon Village.

[00:36:35] Uh, although there, you know, there's still some inklings of competition with China this time, not with, uh, not with the Russians. Um, but I'm excited for, uh, the commercial players to start taking over low Earth orbit from NASA and taking the mantle and expanding the human activities, uh, in low Earth orbit.

[00:36:58] I'm hoping to live to see humans go to Mars. It was, it was always 20 years in the future. I think Mars might still be 20 years in the future for me, but, um, the, the move, South Pole seems to be pretty exciting. Um, the ultimate goal for me though is, is going to Mars, uh, because that is, Um, way more interesting even than the South Pole of the moon for, for both scientific reasons and for engineering and exploration reasons.

[00:37:27] Uh, so I'm hoping one day to see people, uh, on Mars. Uh, but I, as, as a space architect, uh, I'm pretty excited about the, um, promise of new opportunities to design things for low Earth orbit.

[00:37:42] this 

[00:37:43] SCP_103_Markus_raw: also play back to what we're building here on earth? Are there any learnings from space architecture? 

[00:37:50] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: Excellent.

[00:37:53] panel, uh, here at South by South was that the other day was about. So we had, uh, four space architects and we talked how our experience in designing for space, uh, affects our practice here on earth. And, uh, we covered several aspects, you know, there's a lot of things people, when you first talk about this, think of like spinoff technologies and that has definitely been a benefit, but I.

[00:38:18] I think that's not the main reason, like, you know, the, everybody thinks of Teflon and other thing, you know, if you want a better nonstick pan, you should invest in nonstick pan technology, you know? But, uh, the, the key thing is, is, uh, that is really irreplaceable is the way of thinking, uh, and, and the way of designing, because when you're designing for out of space, uh, you have to account for every molecule that you put in your design, right?

[00:38:46] Uh,

[00:38:47] In outer space, the thing that really counts is weight, but weight is really a good analog to embodied carbon. And so, uh, this mentality that every design decisions you make, you have to account for it, uh, with either weight or embodied carbon and, uh, us at, uh, SOM are, I think, quite leaders in that, uh, we, we, uh, calculate the embodied carbon of each design decision that we present, uh, whether our clients.

[00:39:17] You know, ask for it or not. We have a lot of clients that are very advanced and very sophisticated, and they want to know the embodied carbon of their buildings. We have some that don't care so much, but we have committed to doing this.

[00:39:32] doing this. So,

[00:39:33] Uh, I would say in the last five years or so,

[00:39:36] so, every design

[00:39:37] design decision that we present to a client, we give them, you know, the cost and the time, but we also give them the embodied carbon and so that they could make a more informed decision of which way they want to go.

[00:39:50] Uh, so,

[00:39:50] SCP_103_Markus_raw: I, if I wanted to go zero, so how much more of an investment would that 

[00:39:55] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: make?

[00:39:58] mean, up front, usually. Sometimes it costs more, but we always try to present it as the lifetime of the building. So a lot of technologies that you put to reduce the operational carbon, uh, of a building have a little bit of an upfront cost, but they pay for themselves before the building is done. So overall they are a big benefit, but also.

[00:40:22] There's benefits in reducing the embodied carbon, uh, and there, I'll give you one example is that, um, uh, we're rethinking a lot of our finishes. Uh, so I, at Skidmore Weston Merrill, I'm, I'm actually working as a structural engineer, besides a space architect, although most of my training is in architecture.

[00:40:41] And, um, We, you know, we, we, our, uh, partner, Bill Baker, who's a, uh, pretty famous structural engineer, he has this saying that, uh, you know, an, an, an engineer should design a structure that an architect would be ashamed to cover up. And so we're taking this to, to, to heart and, uh, you know, we work together with the architects to, to shape the buildings and, you know, sometimes if possible, omit the finishes and, and make the structural system be part of the expression of the building.

[00:41:11] And so if you're. Have to have a column there, uh, instead of putting all this embodied carbon to put a metal panel on it with its clips and all this stuff, maybe you can work where the aesthetics of the building is just the column itself. And you're saving all of this material that you don't have to produce.

[00:41:28] You don't have to ship, you don't have to install, you don't have to package. Um, so that's kind of one example of how these decisions are very similar to space.

[00:41:37] SCP_103_Markus_raw: sometimes people ask the question, why do we need all this? Why do we need to go into space? Don't we have more problems on earth to solve and blah, blah, blah. Now that you're telling me that there is a lot of. benefit from research

[00:41:53] from

[00:41:55] from what you just mentioned.

[00:41:57] It's, um, I think this is the no brainer answer to that criticism, because if there is already understanding and a solution towards zero, CO2, architecture, that's already a major benefit from what we're doing out there in space.

[00:42:19] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: That's the benefit that I draw out of it, and I think it's great. I mean, I don't, uh, I, I run into this question a lot, but I think it's the, the, the investment in space exploration pays for itself pretty tremendously. And as a percentage of the, uh, uh, the endeavors that humans do, space architecture, you know, Working in outer space is not that big of an investment, uh, compared to our, you know, investment in our militaries.

[00:42:47] And also it's other things that you could also argue, why are we doing that for? Uh, so, um,

[00:42:53] is the

[00:42:54] is the, the inspiration for my space architecture, uh, endeavors into my terrestrial architecture is this, the way of thinking, the way of quantitatively accounting for each of your design, uh, decisions is, is very important.

[00:43:09] SCP_103_Markus_raw: Huh, so what up next for you and the company? So you're waiting for the call from NASA and ESA or JAXA or whoever is building something or SpaceX?

[00:43:18] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: we are, um, putting together some proposals, uh, in fact, actually right now, we're, uh, we're working on one for, uh, uh, for NASA. NASA has this, uh, program for, um, doing research with small businesses and universities. Uh, we're definitely, um, involved in that. Uh, personally, uh, I will be the, the chair of the Space Architecture Technical Committee.

[00:43:41] Um, of the AIAA, which is the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. And, uh, through that, we're, uh, have quite a lot of activities, uh, for a long time. We've, every year we've sponsored sessions at three big conferences. And, um, this year in October, uh, we're, uh, Having, um,

[00:44:02] to put

[00:44:02] space architecture symposium, which is a full day activities of trying to gather a lot of space architects and another endeavor we just started is trying to put a decadal survey of space architecture, kind of inspired by the decadal surveys that our astronomer and life sciences friends do at NASA, basically a plan or a survey of where the state of the profession is at.

[00:44:26] Is, and where are the gaps in the next 10 years and where people should be thinking and working in the next 10 years in space architecture. So,

[00:44:33] SCP_103_Markus_raw: Any insights you can share? 

[00:44:34] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: I

[00:44:37] to do it. I mean, one, one of my personal, uh, things that I'm interested in is, uh, is Windows. Uh, Windows are very important, uh, and for the psyche and for being there.

[00:44:50] Um, There's several stories, uh, back from the, uh, Mercury days where, when von Braun designed the first Mercury capsule, they didn't put a window in and the, uh, the astronauts put their foot down that there has to be a window, uh, and there's very well documented, uh, research from all sorts of psychologists and things like that of people in extreme environments that windows are important.

[00:45:12] And I think a lot of architects and a lot of these, uh, renderings of new space stations draw all kinds of windows. that are not really physically

[00:45:20] You can render anything, but

[00:45:22] They look good. Yeah. But you know, that's the whole point that, uh, we can render anything, but in space, you have to really follow the physics. And so, uh, this, this, um, this is something that needs more work is how do you design, uh, windows into habitats that are both beneficial and aesthetic and they do their job, but they're also are possible and, uh, I won't, uh, you know, Crush your math limit.

[00:45:51] SCP_103_Markus_raw: Why not use displays, um, high resolution displays instead of windows?

[00:45:56] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: But then what's the point of going there? You can do that here, right?

[00:46:00] SCP_103_Markus_raw: Yeah, but you're on the moon and you have work to do on the moon. You have research to do on the moon. I'm just, I'm just thinking out loud for the psyche. I'd be interested in finding out if, if I could trick my mind by substituting a window. For a fancy display,

[00:46:16] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: That, that is true. Yeah.

[00:46:17] SCP_103_Markus_raw: seeing, seeing exactly what's outside.

[00:46:19] So of course I want to see the same view, but it's just not a window. It's a display.

[00:46:26] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: There are some, uh, architects that are working on this research. I've seen, uh, several papers of people trying to explore what exactly that would mean and how to incorporate it. So it's a pretty good idea. I would still want an actual window there too, but, uh, the, the benefit of the displays though, uh, all joking aside is that they could be much larger than the window, uh, and so maybe, uh, it's not an either or, but, uh, a both together,

[00:46:53] SCP_103_Markus_raw: I just,

[00:46:53] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: solution, I think.

[00:46:55] SCP_103_Markus_raw: just imagine having a whole room as a display. You could sit outside, like your mind could sit outside, um, the room on the surface of the moon without any walls 

[00:47:08] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: and what

[00:47:09] And, um The trickery part would be finding enough wall space to do it, but maybe it could do it, uh, on a sort of a movable fabric or something where, um, you could have your storage behind it and things like that. Because, uh, as you see on the International Space Station, there's very limited wall space to leave blank.

[00:47:27] But if there's a lot of stuff that you don't use all the time, so maybe it's, it's something retractable that you could reach through, uh, When you need it, but most of the time it is just a high end display

[00:47:40] Or a projection.

[00:47:41] a projection, something. No, that's an excellent idea. And then the benefit of that is that you can turn it off or turn it to something different, uh, and, and change it.

[00:47:51] And that's another interesting topic is the personalization. Yeah. You know, if you have a different crew or different people come, they might have different preferences, so.

[00:48:00] Speaking of 

[00:48:01] SCP_103_Markus_raw: preferences, what can, what can we learn from an architect? How should, what should we on earth do to make, living inside a building most comfortable?

[00:48:13] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: I mean, I can talk for myself, you know, a lot of this is, is, uh, um, personal, but I would, uh, I prefer natural materials, sustainable materials, uh, even, even better, uh, avoiding, uh, you know, petroleum plastics and things like that. Uh, that is something that's both pleasing and, uh, calling back to our nature and, you pretty sustainable.

[00:48:37] And so I've tried to incorporate that into our space architecture as well as how could you bring different tactile experiences of natural materials out in space, but also on earth too.

[00:48:52] Would, would work as

[00:48:54] I, I think so, uh, it would have to be treated, uh, and it'd have to not off gas, but, uh, I don't see why, uh, um, wood would not be, uh, something in, in limited amounts, right?

[00:49:07] The other big danger in outer space is, you know, fires and things like that. But I think that's a problem that's solvable is having a thin, probably thin veneers of wood being

[00:49:18] SCP_103_Markus_raw: I know, I know, um a team of architects, from Austria, and they, they burnt wooden beams, um, under extreme temperatures, compared that to the same temperatures applied to concrete beams. And the wood just kept the stability of the building. And the concrete didn't.

[00:49:39] Um, so that's very interesting that there is of course, this understanding that wood is a dangerous building material because of fire, et cetera. But maybe concrete is even 

[00:49:50] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: worse.

[00:49:51] Well, the, um, properties of mass timber are pretty well known and it's, it's, it's a great building, um, material cause it, it burns, it chars, but then it, it retains its structural properties.

[00:50:06] Uh, and so, um, It's, it's very good at standing up. The problem in space though is that it's not really the structure of it, but the fumes and that will kill you way before any structural failure. So on Earth, timber buildings are accepted by building codes. You can, you know. Build quite tall buildings these days with timber.

[00:50:34] Um, you know, and there have been a lot of experiments of proving that you can get two hour rated structural elements in timber pretty easily.

[00:50:43] Hmm. Fantastic.

[00:50:44] But again, on Earth, you're more worried about, uh, The building not collapsing and getting everybody out in space, uh, anything emergency you could imagine inside is, is much better than getting out.

[00:50:59] Getting out will kill you. So that's a very key, uh, key bit about, uh, uh, safety and, and building codes. I mean, we don't have building codes, um, um, in outer space, but right. The goal of, uh, building codes on earth is to get everybody out of the building. Uh, The goal of stay in sight. Uh, yeah, exactly.

[00:51:22] SCP_103_Markus_raw: Are you an Earth person or would you be ready to go into space at some point, if you

[00:51:27] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: Oh, I would love to go into space. I don't know about moving there a full time, but, uh, uh, definitely, um, I would, I would be happy to go immediately.

[00:51:39] SCP_103_Markus_raw: Because, um I keep asking my, my guests, um, if they really wanted to go into space, uh, considering the long travel, uh, time that is required to get from A to B, um, to keep yourself under, entertained, um,

[00:51:59] with a piece

[00:52:00] of music, would you not want to miss? Well, like that one piece you would not want to miss on that 

[00:52:07] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: journey.

[00:52:07] Oh, the, um, what, if I could take one album.

[00:52:12] SCP_103_Markus_raw: I don't know. It's one tune because I have a Spotify playlist for the aspiring space traveler.

[00:52:17] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: Ah, okay.

[00:52:18] SCP_103_Markus_raw: So what's the one tune?

[00:52:20] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: Uh, would say Sgt. Pepper's, the album, but if I have to choose one song out of it, um, Oof, let me think about that. That's 

[00:52:38] SCP_103_Markus_raw: true.

[00:52:41] it could backfire. Take your time.

[00:52:59] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: There has to be one song, eh?

[00:53:01] SCP_103_Markus_raw: Unfortunately.

[00:53:09] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: Maybe with a little help from my friends, I'll do that one. Nice.

[00:53:13] SCP_103_Markus_raw: Okay. That was unexpected. I liked that tune.

[00:53:16] Thanks. And that is called

[00:53:18] And, um, this podcast is called the Space Cafe Podcast. It's a coffee place, so to say. Um, why don't you share an espresso now with me, with the audience, for the mind, something that energizes our minds. You can pick whatever kind of topic you want to pick.

[00:53:41] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: Oh, not, not actually describe my favorite espresso shop. Okay. Um, let me think about it for a

[00:53:49] Sure.

[00:53:54] Um, I'll go one thing that, yeah, whenever I, uh, I want to think of where I'd be, uh, I've taken two trips to the Himalayas recently. So yeah, so, uh, I know that's, it's kind of a, maybe a stereotypical thing going up in the mountains and being away from everybody, but that has been something that's been truly inspirational.

[00:54:19] I've done a couple of, uh, with my family and my kids, treks up into valleys, uh, um, one in, um, Tibet and one in Bhutan. That was pretty, pretty amazing being seen. Power of nature and being close to the sky and, um, spending days up at altitude is pretty amazing. So I, uh, encourage everybody to

[00:54:41] SCP_103_Markus_raw: I can, I can. I can very much relate to that because I had the, the opportunity to go to Northern India two years ago to the, uh, uh, Himalayas.

[00:54:51] Which bit

[00:54:52] And uh, there is a place called Gang Tree that's a village, uh, that's a very holy village because the Ganga River, um, uh, has its origin in that region from the glacier, uh, a little upstream.

[00:55:08] And so I went to that place and to a mountain called, um, Mount Shing.

[00:55:13] Shifling.

[00:55:14] And. It was extremely inspirational. I'm from Austria. I know what mountains are. I'm from the Alps. But still, you're at 3, 000 meters, and in that village at 3, 000 meters, they grow apples. That's, I mean, like at

[00:55:33] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: pretty amazing. Nice. Um,

[00:55:35] SCP_103_Markus_raw: they grow apples and then you're at 3, 500 meters in altitude and you look up and you see those huge and tall mountains.

[00:55:45] I mean, like 7, 000 meter mountains. And it's like, this is mind blowing. And, and you feel very, very small in, in, in that environment.

[00:55:54] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: Well, we're looking for a place to go next again, where we're addicted to the Himalayas. I mean, I grew up in Sofia in Bulgaria and we have a mountain right up above the city and you always see it and it's a big, big image of the city, uh, you know, but that goes up to 3000, you know, 2000 something meters.

[00:56:12] Uh, so going to the Himalayas is quite a different experience going up. I really like Bhutan. Um, I would recommend. Uh, visiting there,

[00:56:22] What's, what's special

[00:56:23] the, the people are very amazing. Uh, it's, uh, um, it's, you know, it's got the Tibetan culture, uh, that similar, you know, religion and customs, uh, I mean, we loved it in Tibet, but in Tibet, you can really feel the Chinese boot there.

[00:56:47] So it was a little bit bittersweet to see the level of control you can achieve now, a totalitarian regime with AI technology, surveillance technology. So in Bhutan, it felt a lot freer and a lot, um, I mean, it's a small country with a small population, um, that's, uh, kind of experimenting with democracy now.

[00:57:13] Uh, but, uh,

[00:57:15] it's a monarchy,

[00:57:16] it's, uh, it used to be an absolute monarchy until, you know, a few decades ago, the king kind of imposed from above that we will have democracy. And our guide was like, okay, if the king thinks we should have democracy, let's do it. So, um. But it was, it was, uh, the spirit of the people was, was great.

[00:57:34] Uh, and again, the, the going up into the mountains beyond the road and just, um, walking and, you know, having, you know, we have to have pack animals come with us to carry our stuff, but it was very beautiful. So.

[00:57:49] SCP_103_Markus_raw: How did you get your kids to tag along? Because I have two. I have two teenage daughters. They just hate hiking.

[00:57:56] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: well, we've, we've been hiking with them since they were very little.

[00:57:59] We, you know, they started skiing almost immediately after they started walking. Um, and, um, but it is fun that the time, first time we went to, uh, my son was, uh, nine, I think, or even less, eight or nine. And I think people are used to seeing Western tourists, uh, but adults, uh, it was very rare to see, uh, uh, Western.

[00:58:25] kid. And so he was the big star, like people would come up from all over wherever we went and would try to take their picture with him or give him stuff or hug him and touch him. So he was like the, the pretty big star just by the fact of being a kid walking up to the mountains. So,

[00:58:44] SCP_103_Markus_raw: was the most memorable thing, um, speaking of an espresso for the mind, uh, from those, from those moments?

[00:58:52] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: Waking up in the morning and watching the sun come up, uh, on some of the Himalayan pick peaks and bath them in the pink. And slowly the, you know, the, you kind of witness the whole revolution of the spheres and the, the alignment of the celestial object. It's pretty amazing. So that's like the early morning when you just kind of, out of the, the peaks emerge out of darkness into the sunlight.

[00:59:19] Is, is fantastic. Fantastic.

[00:59:21] SCP_103_Markus_raw: So it's still nature that's winning.

[00:59:23] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: Yes, yes, definitely.

[00:59:27] SCP_103_Markus_raw: The ultimate entertainer.

[00:59:28] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: Yeah, that's pretty amazing.

[00:59:31] SCP_103_Markus_raw: Georgi, thank you so much.

[00:59:33] SCP_103_Georgi_raw: very much. I appreciate the invitation very much.

[00:59:35] it was fun.

[00:59:36] SCP_103_Markus_raw: Thank you, my friends, for tuning in. We still have some way to go, literally and conceptually. Space is hard, but so is life. And we hope this episode has provided you with a deeper understanding of the complexities advancements in space habitation. Join us again at the Space Cafe Podcast, where we'll continue to explore the vast expanse of space and the incredible innovations that bring us closer to the cosmos.

[01:00:17] And last, consider rating this show provided you like what we do here, but consider rating our show, give us a review or give us some stars because this is the only currency the internet seems to accept. So any of your ratings is invaluable to us. And whatever your decision is, thank you for your loyalty.

[01:00:45] thank you that you keep coming back to this place, to the Space Cafe Podcast. So long my friends, until next time, bye bye. 

[01:00:55] ​

Podcasts we love