99% Alien

Humans need a few basic things to survive – air, water, food, heat, shelter- but just surviving isn’t really enough. We also need familiarity, a little comfort, interaction, a small place of our own.

When it comes to designing space habitat modules, engineers have that first set of basic needs covered, but figuring out how to incorporate those other things, that not only keep an astronaut alive but also mentally healthy and happy, is a little more complicated. The funniest and coolest science writer in the world, Mary Roach, guides us through the evolution of space habitat modules and how far design can be optimized for zero-g before astronauts start to lose it.


This is Mary Roach. She’s nice, has books and leans well.

So, let’s fill up those comments! What needs to be redesigned completely here on Earth and what things will you hold on to, cherish, and defend, even though they may be as useless as a table in space?

  1. Hi! I’ve been working my way backwards through the archives to try and find the first time the song at 2:26 in this episode is used, hoping to find out what it is. For me, it’s ‘the sound of 99% Invisible’ and I’d love to score my life to it. Does anyone know what it is?

  2. Chairs. I think chairs need to be drastically redesigned. We use them so much (too much!) but they aren’t usually very comfortable nor do they fit well with our bodies, which I find kind of strange.

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