4.1.4 docking points for human transportation spacecrafts,
4.1.4 Exterior communication system.
Transportation Hub.In order to allow The Iris to communicate with Earth, we have to build a Transportation Hubwhere both cargo and human transportation spacecrafts can dock or berth. The Hub has to beexternal to the main structure due to security reasons, such as preventing perilous collisions.Moreover, Transportation Hub does not spin together with the rest of the space settlement, inorder to make easier the docking of space shuttles.
Thus, it is connected to the outer cylinderthrough a tunnel that passes through the middle of the transparent shield. At its sides, aresituated two docking points for human transportation spacecrafts, while on the top of the hubare located the berthing and docking points for cargo spaceships. The berthing and dockingsystems are similar to those used on ISS.Figure 48: A spacecraft in process of docking to the ISSImage credit: https://en.
wikipedia.org/wiki/Docking and berthing of spacecraft4.2 Illumination”O, Sunlight! The most precious gold to be found on Earth.” — Roman PayneSince mankind’s dawn, light and its variations have fundamentally influenced humans’ lives,and have controlled their biological clocks, therefore representing an essential need for everyperson. Besides, in the modern world, light definitely improves one’s work and represents a48positive psychological factor regarding one’s state of mind.
On The Iris, we can undoubtedlymake use of sunlight in order to illuminate the interior of our spacecraft, and to create a daynightcycle. Although the capture of natural light in order to divert sunlight into the spacesettlement involves a fairly complicated process, this choice has huge advantages. For instance,daylight environments increase occupant productivity and comfort, and provide the mental andvisual stimulation necessary to regulate human circadian rhythms, and lead to substantial energysavings.
28The illumination system is made of giant external plane mirrors and internal spherical mirrors.The external ones, placed around the bases of the outer cylinder, and mobile, deflectthe sunlight into the spacecraft through the two optically transparent shields. Subsequently,a fraction of the light is scattered by the spherical mirrors placed in the agriculturalarea, while the rest of light passes through the reinforced smart glass wall andenter the industrial and residential zones. There, the light is also scattered by sphericalmirrors. Apart from its protection role, the transparent shields (whose structure was presentedin Section 2.5), also have illumination purposes due to its smart glass layer. Byusing nanotechnology, this layer is able to change its transparency, ranging from 100%to 0% (total opacity).
This way, we are able to create a day-night cycle within The Iris,like on Earth. The smart glass wall, by using the same system, enables the illuminationsystem of the central zone not to be dependent on the agricultural area’s one. Hence, inthe farming area, daylight is considerably longer than night-time, in order to increase thecrop growing productivity. In the central area, daytime is roughly equal to night-time,and slightly fluctuates during the year.Figure 49: Reinforced smart glass wall structure