NASA’s failed first attempt to inflate the inflatable room was a major setback in the future of space exploration for both professional astronauts and tourists, but its second attempt was successful. According to the “New York Times”, the inflatable room called the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, which is better known as BEAM was developed by Robert Bigelow’s North Las Vegas company for NASA. On the morning of Friday, May 27, 2016, NASA planned its first test for BEAM, which failed because the inflatable room barely expanded a few inches, after a few hours of air being pumped in, which was a major disappointment because the room was supposed to inflate in less than an hour.
NASA paid the North Las Vegas company 17.8 million dollars to develop BEAM, which is not only a scientific failure, but a monetary failure during a vulnerable economic climate. The fact the room was expected to be used for astronauts traveling to Mars, and tourists orbiting the Earth, the initial investment would be recouped quickly. NASA’s test was supposed to the first trial of the two-year experiment, to ensure all of the kinks in the project were resolved before its first deployment in space.
A few years ago, NASA made a public statement they would no longer be sending astronauts into space, but has continued to support other nation’s plans involved in the use of the international space station. The “Two-Way” states the plan for BEAM was initially discussed during the 1990’s by NASA and United States government, but twenty years later this project is still not working properly in order to move forward with the testing. The main idea was for the inflatable room to be small and compact to take up a minimal amount of space within the cargo area, which is already crowded with supplies and tools necessary for survival. NASA continues to focus on finding new and innovative concepts to further space exploration.
BEAM can be viewed as the future to human survival, because it was initially created for survival in space, but in reality there are other real world applications which can be useful here on Earth. Some people are aware of the devastating results of climate change and global warming, while others continue to deny these results, which has led to individuals and families preparing to survive in underground bunkers, but BEAM can also create safe environments here on Earth if the environment is no longer a livable place. This shows why NASA’s BEAM’s failed first attempt was such a disappointment, which lead to excitement with the success of the second attempt.
The “VERGE” focuses on the idea BEAM is an inflatable room, but it is nothing like a balloon, since it is made up of multiple layers of Kevlar and other materials resistant to micrometeorites. There have been serious considerations which could further the uses for BEAM, including the creation of stable environments in space to grow food, animals, and other necessary supplies for human survival in space, or on a different planet less conducive or similar to the climate on Earth.
Space is still considered the final frontier, and continues to be the driving force into space exploration for NASA. Others would argue the progress into space travel and space living is the next logical step, especially with the drastic results of global warming and climate change. It is sad to consider the idea, the wealthy people of the world who continue to fight the necessary changes needed to save our planet will be the first people who would be able to set up shop in space. Not only did these people destroy our world, but they will be given the first opportunity to destroy the next.
“Extreme Tech” reports the first test on NASA’s BEAM was a failure, but the second test showed the system was successful and capable of meeting its proposed uses. Now the system is able to inflate properly, NASA is now left to get BEAM up to its normal operating pressure. This is important, because depending on where the BEAM is in the solar system, the normal operating pressure would vary.
In conclusion, BEAM is the future of the world and its space exploration, and NASA’s perseverance allowed their professionals to consider the data they received and make changes to make the second test a success. At this point, there is a new race for space exploration, which is similar to NASA’s race to the moon from the 20th century. Similar to the 1960’s, the nations of the world are all working double time to see who will be the first to successfully utilize the idea of BEAM and reap the benefits once it is fully operational.
By Kristina Lasher
New York Post: NASA can’t inflate their new space station bubble room
The Two-Way: NASA’s Attempt to Inflate Its Expandable Space Module Fizzles
THE VERGE: NASA’s attempt to inflate expandable habitat fails
EXTREME TECH: NASA successfully inflates BEAM, the new ISS habitation module
Image Courtesy of Francisco Schmidt’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License