Tuesday, 3 October 2017


The E-mail was informative and came with a link to the Mars project BIG was working on:


Begin forwarded message:
Subject: what bjarke is up to..
Date: 1 October 2017 at 7:16:31 am AEST
that danish guy who designed that great high rise in nyc, now working on prototypes with elon musk.
Bucky was onto it !
Norman Foster project for Mars (and above)

The news had just recently been all about the BIG Lego House that was due to be opened. The imagery held an ambiguity about it – an amBIGuity? Was it made of Lego pieces? The aerial photographs looked the same as the Lego model. What was what here? One wondered how frequently Ingels had been on the Lego construction site. His statement that the whole project was constructed to the exact (Lego?) module without any part having to be trimmed to fit, as though it was all Lego parts, seemed to show an idealism, a perfection that is rarely, if ever, achieved on building sites where tolerances can vary so much, and where contractors are experts in ‘making things right.’ The great line from The Bill says it all: “He’s a builder. He has a degree in excuses.”

Every string or laser beam has a thickness, an accuracy that the pencil, with it own width, finds difficult to record with absolute precision, even though we like to think otherwise. Frequently the instrument being used only aggravates the imperfection. Even the eye changes the reading of alignments. Has Engels’ eye done this? The question with the house lingered: what was Lego and what was not? What is it for? Was this just BIG Lego – en masse? Maybe it might have been better if it had been.

Now it was BIG Mars – larger still.
The link was clicked:


Bjarke Ingels proposes Mars simulation city for Dubai in race for space colonisation
Jessica Mairs 28 September 2017

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels has revealed designs for the Mars Science City, which will operate as a space simulation campus near Dubai where scientists will work on "humanity's march into space".

Ingels’ plans show four geodesic domes enveloping the Mars Science City, which will cover 17.5 hectares of desert outside Dubai – making it the largest space simulation city ever built.
A team will live inside the experimental city for a year, which will recreate the conditions of the Red Planet. Scientists will work in laboratories dedicated to investigating self-sufficiency in energy, food and water for life on Mars.
Ingels, the founder of Danish firm BIG, will work on the AED 500 million (£101 million) project with a team of Emirati scientists, engineers and designers led by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre and the Dubai Municipality.
"The UAE seeks to establish international efforts to develop technologies that benefit humankind, and that establish the foundation of a better future for more generations to come," said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, vice president and prime minister of the UAE, and ruler of Dubai.
"We also want to consolidate the passion for leadership in science in the UAE, contributing to improving life on earth and to developing innovative solutions to many of our global challenges."
He announced the project earlier this week at the annual meetings for the United Arab Emirate government in Abu Dhabi.

Expected to be the "most sophisticated building in the world", laboratories will simulate the Mars' harsh environment by making use of 3D printing technology, as well as heat and radiation insulation.
The city will also host a museum with educational areas, where progress into space exploration can be displayed to inspire future generations. The walls of the museum will be 3D printed using sand from the Emirati desert.
"We believe in the potential of space exploration, and in collaborating with global partners and leaders in order to harness the findings of this research and movement that seeks to meet people's needs and improve quality of life on earth," said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.
"We seek to set an example and motivation for others to participate, and contribute, to humanity's march into space."

Plans for the Mars Science City form part of the United Arab Emirate's Mars 2117 Strategy, which aims to build the first settlement on Mars within the next 100 years.
The Mars Science City is just one of many designs readying mankind for its first missions to the Red Planet.
Among them is a space suit designed to be worn by travellers embarking on the 80- to 150-day trip to Mars that Elon Musk plans to launch in 2022 through space exploration company SpaceX.
Proposals to the NASA-run 3D Printed Habitat Challenge offered a range of designs for housing on the planet, including a submission by Foster + Partners that proposed the use of semi-autonomous robots for construction, and plans by SEArch and Clouds AO that would see Mars’ water supply used to build frozen dwellings.

One thought of things ‘futuristic,’ how they are made today with the promoted concept that they are all about the future, for a time yet to come. We are told to believe that we can expect to see these things everywhere in ‘five to ten years.’ Wittgenstein added to this oft quoted ‘scientific’ statement, the words: “As if this were necessarily so.” The ‘visions’ are really about today. The Disney Monsanto ‘House of the Future’ comes to mind as an example of this reality where current materials and technologies and skills are used to fabricate something that is said to be ‘the future’ - all when it is clear that it is now, of the present. Motor vehicle manufacturers are always similarly building cars ‘of the future’ now, with the same promotional hype. The Monsanto house, that was apparently constructed to illustrate what might occur in the future, lasted ten years: 1957 – 1967. It became nothing but the past: a lesson on the impact of change. It was demolished.


Guessing futures on Mars in the next 100 years comes with much the same set of issues: we have to use today’s understandings and skills to construct a future for folk at a location 54.6 million kilometres away. It might sound pedantic, but consider sending sufficient IKEA flat packs, or some similar technological kit or equipment, to Mars, ready for assembly or fabrication. Forgetting about who might do the job and how – we are in the ‘anything is possible’ world here – one has to consider the IKEA circumstance: wrong parts; insufficient pieces; incorrect tools; leftover bits; etc. This is mankind!

One is not being silly here, over-pedantic or unnecessarily pessimistic. The fate of the Mars lander has to be recalled: the mix up between Imperial and Metric figures sent the dream into its crash landing. Why is there this rush to get to Mars? Is it the vision of the ‘man on Mars’ comic, a hope that some want made real? The ‘Dick Tracy’ watch has become a reality! Do comics set our goals? Gosh, might it not be better to get things on Earth worked out before we rush off to bugger up yet another planet? Little things are important.

Or is the journey to Mars our escape route, one made necessary with the coming catastrophe? Have we given up on Earth? Who knows what here? We seem to be totally engrossed in big technology – in big equipment; big ideas. We do not appear capable of managing anything more intimate that requires empathy and care. We race on into the world of perpetual distractions, again and again, forever avoiding the simple Pauline proposition: ‘In whatsoever state . . . to be content.’
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (KJV Philippians 4:11)

We seem to want to be constantly discontent with things big – even BIG: to be overcome with their inventiveness: to want more; larger, which is always ‘better.’ The battery for the latest Tesla electric vehicle was reported as being half a ton in weight – WOW! (see: http://voussoirs.blogspot.com.au/2017/09/swell-sculpture-festival-2017-again-and.html ) It is then explained that this mass consists of 18,650 AA batteries. It is a true ‘battery pack’ - a pack of batteries. The understanding of its conglomerate assembly changes visions. There is nothing new here but quantity. There is no ‘future’ solution here but size. Dubai knows about size. The initial promotion of the tallest building ever was astonishing, unbelievable: it amazed. Then construction starts, and the tower is built. It is there, to be experienced along with everything everyday. Its awesome qualities are made ordinary in the same manner in which the battery is demythologised. It is now having an impact on our being, one that is not so WOW! It now involves ordinary habitation.

The proposition is that we need to spend more time on getting the tiny things right before we leap off into quantity – big numbers. But this is ‘the age of quantity’ isn’t it? We can only expect more and more of everything getting bigger and BIGer while the little things are accumulated, unresolved; merely multiplying the problems inherent in the parts – x 18,650 and more: x 54.6 million?

If we are unable or unwilling to attend to the tiny things, the subtle issues, we will never get the big things right, no matter how large we might choose to make them. God is indeed in the detail. God is not on Mars, or even in the getting there or living there. Like all travel, we escape to difference only to find ourselves when we arrive, the same, with all of the identical concerns, worries, loves, hates, feelings, emotions that are a part of us, and from which we cannot escape by ignoring them with our plentiful distractions, hopeful destructions, no matter how we might try.

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