Archaeological study of human habitation in space launched

The International Space Station as seen from the departing Space Shuttle Discovery. IMAGE: NASA.

January 2022 saw the launch of a new phase in the first ever archaeological study of a human habitat in space.

The project, which began in 2015, is led by Dr Alice Gorman at Flinders University and Dr Justin Walsh at Chapman University, and aims to study the lives of the crew on the International Space Station, using archaeological techniques and perspectives to understand how people have adapted their behaviour to a completely new environment, and to explore the impact that long-term space missions have had on the ‘microsociety’ on the ISS, through their material culture.

This new phase of the project will utilise a variation on the classic archaeological test-pit – instead of digging into earth, researchers will study daily photographs of 1m2-areas of the station to investigate how these spaces are used, and how this changes over time.

Find out more about the International Space Station Archaeological Project at