:envihab is derived from “environmental habitat” - a unique scientific laboratory to carry out interdisciplinary research in global partnership on the interactions of humans with the environment and vice versa. The ground-breaking of this facility took place in September 2009. The facility will be operational early 2013. Thus, it is now time to look for strategic local and global partnerships.
For long-term habitation in space and for living on Moon and Mars, many questions still need to be resolved. Such research questions include caring for health and performance of humans in extreme environments and under extreme conditions, prevention of and rehabilitation from negative effects of e.g. weightlessness, or supporting individuals whenever this support is necessary. In many instances, these problems are comparable to or identical with problems of aging people on Earth, of patients during long-term stays in bed, of patients in rehabilitation or, on the other side, of highly skilled teams that are under extreme stress or work under unusual psychologically and physiologically conditions.
From a strategic point of view, one major emphasis of :envihab is to form – on a global scale – a closely interrelated network of leading scientists and entrepreneurs in their respective fields of research and innovation and also to use the facility to fascinate the public and integrate an educational approach for the young generation.
The aim of the 1st International :envihab Symposium was to identify and discuss key research and “industry potential” questions both for applications on Earth and in space. The main objectives of :envihab will be to make the needs and chances of the future visible by questions that need to be resolved both in space and on Earth: Space research is not different from research on Earth, but one of the many challenges and chances of aiming for the unknown.