Photo from similar "Mars500" Mission 


This was written as an application to a grant in 2012/2013.
The grant was rejected, however, a very similar project was carried out by another group...
Here is the full release (as a pad, PDF version was around before).

Missing / TODO:
    * links on text !!! (went missing with document copy into pad)
    * more reformatting
    * [...]

Last updated:
    2016-09-01 (release)

Project Summary

Inspired by experiments like Mars500, Biosphere-2 and Makrolab, HSS is a Contained
Environment Hacker Habitat mission hosted in CHT#1, a live-in hacklab in Lanzarote
(Canary Islands, Spain). Radically challenging “The Roommate Anti-Pattern” of the classical
hackerspace design, the HSS crew lives and works together as a part of an actual
space-faring mission, in a tightly isolated, sensor-monitored, self-improving intelligent
(cyber) environment, for 3 months.

What happens if we send a hacker-space and its inhabitants to deep space? How can we
make it run as ideally as possible?

Main topics investigated:
● hacker coliving & coworking design patterns| full-time hacker lifestyles
● extreme isolation habitats | Astronautical Hygiene
● sensor-quantified environment with quantified selves + decision support system |
cybernetic habitat
● psychological, psychosocial, philosophical aspects of humans in these spaces2

Relevance to [grant organiser] mission

In the system of exposed topics, our mission addresses habitats / human environments,
but it also touches ground on maker education and economics aspects.

Understanding Contained Environment Habitats coliving & coworking practices
New forms of coliving practices (Co-ops, Intentional communities,...) are a highly relevant
response to social, political, economic and cultural changes, partly caused by the spread of
networked, digital information and communications technologies, known as Network
Society / Networked individualism: "We call networked individualism an “operating system”
because it describes the ways in which people connect, communicate, and exchange
information" (Rainie L., Wellman B.)
It is becoming clear that the two traditional societal axioms - the nuclear family as the
basic fabric of life in society, and the hierarchical company for the working part - are
transforming, and themselves losing ground. New institutional systems need to be
researched and introduced to correspond to diverse new needs, in our case both for
“hackers” - individuals with a specific ethics, focused on innovation and creativity, and

Crossing the human dynamics of space missions with the work ethics of hackerspaces serve HSS as its experimental foundation.
Comparing these in order to understand a new “operating system” of people’s behaviours
and attitudes would enlighten insights in new social dynamics in general.

Promotion of these practices as “full-time hacker lifestyles”
Hackerspaces as community-operated places, where people with common interests often
share tools and ideas, intrinsically carry a “hacking home” tendency, blurring the live-work

Constrained resources; new transparent & open management/operations
For any “do-oriented” coliving communities of our time, resource constraints are reality.
Full-time experimental life in these environments, with our proposed methodologies and
practices, will illuminate important aspects of socially responsible & totally inclusive
innovation, that will be adaptable to other resource constrained models.

Astronautical hygiene (The box, and Strategies of well being)
What is specifically impossible, or in turn uniquely possible only inside a Space Monad, a
box in space? Which already existing space mission practices can be adopted by coliving
communities, such as hackerspaces - somewhat less contained, but still built for
resilience? Which new patterns and anti-patterns could be identified?

Inner- and inter-planetary civilisation resilience strategies
With any planet-scale Earth catastrophe we might be forced to live in “boxes” (caves,
shelters, spaceships, other world settlements,...), possibly for an era. How would the
canonical roommate anti-patterns serve us in this environment? How to ensure a solid
foundation for an express crisis-hacking setup, that would help humanity immediately find
optimal hackflows to prevent & resist any sorts of disasters.

Educating and promoting == scaling the hacker culture
CHT#1’s location is unique. Lanzarote is a Spanish island of 40x20km, ~100km from the
Saharan coast, it has ~150.000 inhabitants, is the only fully Unesco-protected island in the
world, and its airport carries over 6 million passengers yearly. Apparently, the Apollo
moon mission crews have been shown the pictures of Timanfaya national park to give
them an idea about what where they’d be going was like.
CHT#1 is an ambitious project: both the south- and westernmost EU hackerspace. We
would like to use HSS as a vehicle to extend our work here in this peculiar habitat.
Secondly, we both wish to, and need to, involve non-hacker outside advisors & partners -
persons and institutions - thus exposing them to hacker ethics. We will attempt to trigger
systemic changes, and study a general model on how to do that, too.

An on-deck computer
Everybody knows future human expeditions need an awesome house computer.
Josh Hariss’s experiment, documented in We Live in Public (2009), was a dystopic vision of a
future of totally monitored, anxious habitats, while in All Watched Over by Machines of
Loving Grace (2011), computers have been shown as failing humanity’s hope of a dramatic
improvement of our condition.
Our project is creating a strong foothold for steps in the other direction, theoretically and
practically researching an “optimal” human environment, where people are assisted by
Creating a quantified environment, and systematically experimenting with parameter
configurations, HSS offers a new effective management of human habitats based on
continuously collected data

Hackers in space
Who are the new cowboys? Who else has the stamina and skills to do it? We boldly
propose this mission, and hope to research this new territories.

Project Description

CHT#1 is a live-in hackerspace, systematically measuring, reflecting & fueling the creativity
and innovation process through collected data, analytical models, and use of flows & tools
we are collecting and developing and are keen to release.

The HSS mission is its conceptual upgrade: a radicalisation of the experimental
environment, in a space voyage-like isolation, for a crew of 6.
The main general goal of hackerspaces is the maximization of technological creativity in such
an environment through sharing, re-imagining a community, and collaboration.
The project would loosely replicate Mars500 and others, but reanimate them with a
different context, ambitions, the focus on repeatability, hacker ethics, DIY,
open-everything, cost efficiency, etc. Research, development and use of open source
hardware, software and finally sociodynamic technologies would be the main project

The individual projects below both base on, and establish, the platform.


● Subfinance: Live-in hackerspace open budgeting and resource management.
○ Open source software for monitoring costs in sharing / collaborative
○ Curated lists & spreadsheets : “Mission checklist” (tools, resources)
○ Logging all consumption & use data

● Quantified environment & Quantified selves
○ Sensor & Biosensor hacking: Research and re-produce available practices,
involving open hardware systems (Arduino / Beagleboard + shields,
Raspberry Pi), hacking commercially available products. Focus especially on
total data collection, and establishing a platform to store, display, correlate,
visualize,... Roll own only if necessary. Sensors include: brain EEG,
heart-rate, perhaps uniform gyroscopes, environment conditions. Also
measure productivity on personal and shared terminals.
○ Total habitat recall: capturing every moment. Investigate audio/video
recording & storage systems, and methods for future recall & referencing.
○ “Who/when/where/with whom/doing what/feeling how/...”

● Internet3.
There is no AJAX, Youtube, or Amazon Whispernet in space. A
replacement will be researched, developed & used: an intelligently synced and
growing collection, with an inherent intention to bring in relevant data before it is
needed. Study & simulation of existing work on long-distance (lagged) protocols.

● Allende, the house computer.
A decision support system, based on sensor data, with
the intention to research and restart the Cybersyn project for micro and macro

● Psychology / sociodynamics.
○ studies into role of, and attempt to go beyond personal space
○ cultural differences of crew, and influences on interpersonal issues
○ nonverbal communication
○ freedom of choice in closed environments, and totalism
○ letting go of “the roommate anti-pattern”
○ strategies against "You can not meet a new person in space" issue

● Temporality & Sleep research.
Pods (+sensors) will be constructed. Polyphasic
sleep; non-earth length days; non-synced intersubject patterns. New methods of
timekeeping and scheduling. Induced disruption, and best strategies for managing
them. Linking environment events & internal events (via combination of neuro &
environmental sensors). Effects on sociodynamics.

● Diet/Nutriology
Track every nutrient. Practice nootropics. Investigate & re-imagine
space food for the home chef. See for example: Soylent

● Water.
The island of Lanzarote has very little natural water; the water system
delivers desalinated seawater, via reverse osmosis. CHT#1 has a traditional
underground water tank. We will attempt to fix it, analyze water quality, study
filters, and track/manage its consumption with hacks & best practices. /
(Alternatively: sensory deprivation?)

● Plant cultivation.
Automated food production & upkeep with goal of maximizing
total caloric share. See for example: Automicrofarm

● Sound, Light, Smells.
Sensory influences on personal/interpersonal feel/behavior
will be investigated. Generative music & sonic templates will be produced, some to
actually reproduce the 85db ruckus of machinery, others to provide contrast to
that. (For future space programs it is essential that the noise levels are reduced).
Generative light systems & visualia will also be produced. “Virtual reality” will be
future reality, and we wish to induce a transcendental feeling to breed suspension of

● Theoretical investigations. 
Plenty of time to experience the time-space vacuum will
enable moments of suspension of disbelief. Why go to space? What to do during
the missions? Explaining motivation to ever considering inhabiting such
environments ( this one, and beyond)?6

● Physiology & biomechanics.
Astronautical hygiene, blood tests, fisculture...

● “Your project here”.
Unstructured time and emergent challenges will produce and
inspire other relevant work. Everything the residents produce shall be released
under free licences.

How this fits into the realm of human endeavors + comparison to similar projects

People will be going to space in groups - communities, and (if they’re not going to be
sedated while doing so) they will experience the uncommon group dynamics we are
setting to investigate. There are also existing closed/semi-closed environments where
findings of our experiment can be transferred as “good practices” in order to provide
better conditions (prisons, hospitals,...).
This is both for our future outer space missions, and the ones we are sustaining here on
Earth in our family homes, self-sustaining communes, and student dorms... The box's
surrounding might be anything; we will be looking at the insides.

Similar projects:
    include scientific experiments (Cybersyn, Mars500, Biosphere-2,
Makrolab, Hi-Seas, The Venus project); past history of “new land” colonisation (from
prisoners, to refugees, to whole-nation migrations); semi-/sealed-off co-living
communities (hippies, Kibutzes, prisons, the Amish, community farms, “safe houses”, even
The Manhattan project); ocean habitats (sea ships, tankers, underwater sea labs); art (We
Live in Public, ..., Red Dwarf); ...

● DIY / Open-everything
● Inclusive: The Mars500 experiment’s male-only crew is not representative. (They
took this decision since in 2000. a Russian crew member tried to forcefully french
kiss a female Canadian crew member, twice. The “space ship” had to be separated
into two parts, and locks installed). We’d like to think this could be improved.
● ...but for & as hackers / citizen scientists / new-art: Astronauts are exceptional
people with specific skill sets, backgrounds, and body-mind characteristics. We
want a template for the hip techies, insecure system admins, experimental rockers,
even comic book lovers.
● More unstructured time. Astronauts are usually very busy with cutting-edge
science. We will step into the role of post-pioneers, trying to position ourselves into
a situation with more systemic boredom, room for philosophical enquiry, and
going crazy (and managing that).
● The Exploration / Habitation distinction
Important for this project, and our understanding of space missions in general, is a
distinction between exploration (like Mars500 visiting & returning from Mars) and
habitation: this HSS mission imagines going one way, and then plans a “settlement”

Methods and Implementation Plan

Do meaningful and useful work on all projects. Bring awesome results in agreed
timeframes. Project phases / dramatic structure:

Phase #1 : Intense pre-mission preparation (~4 weeks)
● (Immediately after mission approval)
● Crew selection: call-out, selection, exact mission date alignment
● Further technological specification
● Setting up exact research frame and design (data collection methodology, dividing
sample on segments, analytics requirement plans,...)
● Acquiring needed tools & equipment (see Budget)
● Selection & set-up of software platforms for data collection and archiving
● Workflow / website deployment
● Attempt to drive additional last-minute expansion funding (crowd-funding
● HSS construction
○ Quantified environment set-up (sensors, audio/video)
○ Preparing other conditions for systematic data collection (for quantitative &
qualitative observations)
● Crew mission prep:
○ Different types of surveys & tests regarding their everyday life (habits,
○ Different psychological tests
○ Different types of monitoring body parameters
○ Fixing environment rules + Mission prep (education)
○ HSS education / production of a “Newcomer’s guide”
○ More exactly specifying individual schedules
● Project work begins on some projects8

Phase #2A : HSS mission: Space-fare (~7 weeks)
● Isolated “space journey” simulation, observing group dynamics, and hacking on
personal & common projects
● Limited communication with the outside world (a.k.a. no real time Internet)
● Systematic data collection; Real-time analytics & predictive modelling; Feedback
loop implementing changes
● Creating web page contents
● All projects active

Phase #2B : HSS mission: Arrival & habitation (~3 weeks)
● Landing on a foreign planet (Location: remote Lunar/Martian-ish wilderness in
Lanzarote, Canary Islands). Some resupplies & interaction with other arriving settlers
● Establishing a settlement / biosphere development / Hexayurt?
● Project work continues

Phase #3 : Post-mission analytics + delivery (~2 weeks)
● Perform and publish data analysis with different statistical methods for quantitative
& qualitative data processing
● Video data processing and editing, video research, archive
● Setting up video/data an archive for documentation
● Make sure all developed software, hardware and societal tech, recipes, and
models/methodologies are published

4 + 7 + 3 + 2 = 16 weeks = 4 months. Some phases might overlap, with desire to minimally
compromise the mission conceptual integrity.

The CHT#1/HSS project continues after this mission ends.

Host organisation

CHT#1 is the first in a planned series of EU live-in hacklab residences.
(More under first paragraph of #5.)

We have been working in the HSS direction for years. We trace personal continued CHT
habitation research back to at least 2007, when a group of startup engineers in London
rented a house together, and built a complex information retrieval product in 3 months,
with seed money.

CHT#1 -> CHT#1/HSS is an opportunity for a bold evolutionary next step.


● CHT#1 is based in Lanzarote (Canary Islands, Spain), and running since December
2011. Dozens of people have stayed & worked here in this time.
● Size of the space is approximately 80 m^2, in four storeys.
● We have already fitted the house with an externality blocking system, allowing us to
define basic problems and perform initial experiments. There has been banning of
earthly clocks, practicing own systems for prolonged times, with very interesting
● Our underground water tank is not unlike the Altered States (1980)-one
● Everyone agrees that sleeping with brain interfaces, being woken up to
simulate unexpected space-faring complications while being on streaming
video, is awesome

Onboard Crew

Team is comprised of:
● onboard (crew)
● offboard
● externals
○ advisors
○ open data wranglers (via social media?)
● partner organisations10

A Public Callout will be issued for the Crew once the mission is go.

The form of the call is itself a matter of best practice development. We see callouts as a
basic component of future hacker residences... Similar to what NBA does with drafts.

Some crew properties:
● “the representative approach” / shakeup
○ (we should not make the same mistake as Mars500)
○ male/female, different psychological profiles, ...
○ “Who will really pioneer space habitation?”
● profiles
○ technologist
■ system admin
■ open hardware hacker
■ rapid software dev hacker
■ data wrangler
○ quantified self & productivity expert
○ humanities theoretic (psychology / anthropology / philosophy)
○ intermedia artist
● “Should people know each other, not know each other?”
● Lessons from current space (and other contained environment) missions (“How do
they pick the crew for X?”)

We warrant all roles fulfilment. Pre-scheduling is complex, because it is a rather big
comitment to participate.

Everyone blogs. Crew captain book-keeps (project Subfinance!) and curates quantified data.

+David Potocnik (1986)

+Hana Vodeb / Hana-bi (1981)

+Goran Becirevic (1986)


Partner organisations

[grant organiser]
We hope for media support, think-tanking in all stages, and future co-operation on the running the
remodeled CHT#1/HSS to best purposes.

middlemachine Ltd.
is a Slovenian company, founded in 2009 to investigate intelligent technologies on the intersection of
Mobile, Contextual computing, and the Linked Data Web. Its primary focus is to develop a next
generation thought organisational tool for ideation, publication and execution. The prototype of this
captured imagination and support of Technology park Ljubljana, Slovenian technology development
fund, Nokia, and Seedcamp, among others Current mission is to remodel its business proposition, open
sourcing the code, and focusing on self-hosted instances. The transition is planned to conclude in Q3



Budget items proposal (all estimates in USD):

● space : covered by CHT#1
● subsistence : covered by crew (via fees)
● habitat equipment / hardware : ~7500
○ quantified/AI house: microcontrollers / sensors / electronics : ~1000
○ A/V capture (8 nodes) : ~800
○ immersion / multimedia : ~3000
■ sound reproduction : ~500
■ 6 x LED projector : ~2000
■ additional : ~500
○ smart house & lighting : ~1000
○ habitat construction + tools : ~500
○ 4x pod construction : ~1200
● team onboard (crew of 6) : ~10200
○ per person ~1700
■ travel ~200
■ labour (3 months) ~1200
■ sensor: brains ~100
■ sensor: heart ~100
■ uniform: ~100
● team off-board (support of 4): ~800
○ per person : ~200
● projects: ~600
○ Nootropics : ~200
○ Water : ~200
○ Plants : ~200

SUM TOTAL : 19.100

Project Deliverables

The HSS mission shall deliver a working “suite” of solutions for a Contained Environment
Hacker Habitat, by:
● picking - selecting - deploying existing technologies
● developing what’s missing

Items delivereed with finish of project:

● Full DIY live-in cyber habitat HSS “in a box” (Wiki)
○ software collection
○ hardware checklists & how-tos (“make your house into a quantified house”)
○ sociodynamics : new design patterns (via data)
○ subsistence budgeting (space, electricity/water, food)
○ individual project documentations (for example: quantified self setup,
psychological tests with descriptions and evaluation, etc.)

● Crew log: Regular biweekly updates from crew, in an ever-improving form
(including more and more sensors, correlations, analytics, etc).

● Open data store (quantified environment/selves)

● A collection of analytical/statistical findings

● ~50 minute film comprised of video material

● CHT#1/HSS: the spaceship-enabled public live-in hacklab
○ After the end of the mission, the HSS continues to exist and will be reused
for further mission
○ We will arrange a formal model of responsibility to preserve, improve, and
upgrade the HSS, and investigate new forms of proprietorship. We would
propose [grant organiser] to be involved.

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