Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Closed Loop

The earth as an entire system is interrelated, and everything that happens in this system propagates throughout its harmonic structures. Its energy is subject to a strict global conservation law; that is, whenever one measures (or calculates) the total energy of a system of particles whose interactions do not depend explicitly on time, it is found that the total energy of the system always remains constant. So the release of carbons from mining, energy and manufacturing industries, as well as the removal of forests and watersheds, increases the carbon energy in the biosphere which spent eons sequestering it and increasing the diversity and complexity of living systems. These are now in decline, which means the earth is less capable of supporting life as we've known it, in the face of the increasing demands of human population.

So how do we change this direction? Here's the rationale behind the building known as NASA's "Sustainability Base", which I discussed earlier; it is now complete and operational. Its myriad sensors are measuring its performance and establishing the benchmarks for high-performance building structures.

The building demonstrates how closed loop systems developed by space-based technologies can be applied to structures on this planet to bring their energy and carbon impact down to zero. Ideas such as the structural exoskeleton, use of natural light and processes, as well as a "bare-bones" approach to materials use can reduce human habitation demands on ecosystems as well as assist in the restoration of the natural world.

The planets we imagined exploring turns out to be the one we're living on.