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Human outposts are artificially-created, controlled human habitats located in environments inhospitable for humans, such as on the ocean floor, in the Antarctic, in space, or on another planet.
The logistics and difficulties inherent in such ventures have been heavily explored in science fiction.
NASA trains astronauts in an underwater habitat, to simulate living and working in the International Space Station. They conduct scientific research on the human body and coral reefs, and build undersea structures to simulate space station assembly spacewalk tasks. The program is also being used to study how isolation affects human behaviour, to prepare for the first human outposts on the Moon and Mars.
The Salyut 1 space station in low Earth orbit was the first human outpost in space. The only current human outpost in space is the International Space Station, after China de-orbited its Tiangong-2 in 2019.
NanoRacks, after finalizing its contract with NASA, and after winning NextSTEPs Phase II award, is now developing its concept Independence-1 (previously known as Ixion), the first 'outpost' in NanoRacks' Space Outpost Program, which would turn spent rocket tanks into a habitable living area, often known as a wet workshop.
Human outposts in other worlds are a common motif in science fiction, whether established and occupied solely by humans or in cooperation – or competition – with alien species. The setting may be another planet, Earth-like or otherwise; or a spaceship large enough to house a city.
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