Into the Anthropocosmos

Into the Anthropocosmos

A Whole Space Catalog from the MIT Space Exploration Initiative

By Ariel Ekblaw

Foreword by Cady Coleman

A lavishly illustrated catalog of space technology of the future: lab-tested devices, experiments, and habitats for the age of participatory space exploration.





A lavishly illustrated catalog of space technology of the future: lab-tested devices, experiments, and habitats for the age of participatory space exploration.

As Earthlings, we stand on the brink of a new age: the Anthropocosmos—an era of space exploration in which we can expand humanity's horizons beyond our planet's bounds. And in this new era, we have twin responsibilities, to Earth and to space; we should neither abandon our own planet to environmental degradation nor litter the galaxy with space junk. This fascinating and generously illustrated volume—designed by MIT Media Lab researcher Sands Fish—presents space technology for this new age: prototypes, artifacts, experiments, and habitats for an era of participatory space exploration.

These projects, developed as part of MIT's Space Exploration Initiative, range from nanoscale imaging of microbes to responsive, sensor-mediated living environments. They show the usefulness of a seahorse tail for humans in microgravity, document the promise of shape-memory alloys for CubeSat in-orbit maneuvering, and introduce TESSERAE (Tessellated Electromagnetic Space Structures for the Exploration of Reconfigurable, Adaptive Environments), self-assembling space architecture. Some are ongoing, real-world systems: an art payload sent to the International Space Station via Space X CRS-20, for example, and a crowdsourced interplanetary cookbook. More than forty large-format, coffee table–quality, full-color photographs make our future in space seem palpable. Short explanatory texts by Ariel Ekblaw, astronaut Cady Coleman, and others accompany the images.


$39.95 T ISBN: 9780262046374 144 pp. | 11 in x 9 in 100 color illus.


Cady Coleman.


  • "This lavishly illustrated book chronicles the MIT Space Exploration Initiative, founded by Ariel Ekblaw, which develops tools and projects “to truly make space for everyone” says astronaut Cady Coleman's foreword. Ekblaw says the project is “grounded” in the Earthrise image taken by Apollo 8, reinforcing humanity's responsibilities as citizens of the planet. The space experiments depicted range from biology and engineering to cookery and music, including social robots to relieve astronauts' isolation."



  • Into the Anthropocosmos provides an insightful and comprehensive yet easy-to-understand summary of the complex science required to establish an interplanetary species. A compelling and informative read.”

    Scott Kelly

    retired NASA astronaut; author of Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery

  • “Take a glimpse into a future of possibility—where SciFi can become SciFact. This book reminds us that the best solutions for overcoming the challenges of settling space far from our home planet are the ones that ultimately improve life on it.”

    Nicole Stott

    artist and astronaut; founder of the Space for Art Foundation; author of Back to Earth

  • Into the Anthropocosmos importantly synthesizes science-art-engineering-design, postulating the duality of opportunity and responsibility for the future of space exploration.”

    Dava Newman

    Apollo Professor of Astronautics, MIT, and Director, MIT Media Lab

  • Into the Anthropocosmos is both glorious speculation and wild celebration of what is next in space travel technology and what could be right around the corner—a true playground for science fiction writers.”

    Nnedi Okorafor

    science fiction writer; author of the Binti Trilogy and Who Fears Death

  • “This book showcases the incredible work that SEI is doing to showcase and elevate the intersection of art, science, engineering, and design when it comes to the future of space exploration.”

    Emily Calandrelli

    science communicator and host of Emily's Wonder Lab on Netflix