For the first time in history, more people live in cities than in the countryside – and according to UN this number will be 70% in 2050.

With small, compact and minimal homes on the increase, Ikea has been taking the notion of space pretty seriously. So seriously, in fact, that last year the Swedish furniture store sent a team to NASA's Mars Desert Research Station in Utah in order to take inspiration for a new collection from the experts of confined living conditions: astronauts.

Tapping in to what scientists and engineers learn from a spaceflight to Mars, Ikea is applying the learnings to products and methods for everyday life at home, here on earth.

So what can we expect fromIkea's NASA-inspired collection? The collection includes an air purifier, a terrarium pod, a modular, block-based furniture system, a small indoor garden, and a new super lightweight material.

Thelightweightveneer material is made of ‘wood and waste’and rolled into hollow tubes which can be taken apart and clamped together using connectors to build just about anything, be it sofas, wardrobes, beds, or something else completely – a bit like using Lego blocks.

Their hollow veneer design means that they are extremely lightweight, multifunctional, and best of all – sustainable.

Then there's the ultra-chic air purifier which solves the problem of being exposed to environmental toxins, saving space, and looking good all at once.

Also in the range is a futuristic terrarium, designed for chicness and utility, with a sleek glass enclosure that ensures optimal sunlight for your plant's growth.

So, when can we get our hands on this futuristic, ground-breaking collection? There's currently a bit of a wait asthe collection won't be available until next year.

But hey, Mars wasn't built in a day.

Lotte Brouwer

Lotte is the Digital Editor for Livingetc, and has been with the website since its launch. She has a background in online journalism and writing for SEO, with previous editor roles at Good Living, Good Housekeeping, Country & Townhouse, and BBC Good Food among others, as well as her own successful interiors blog. When she's not busy writing or tracking analytics, she's doing up houses, two of which have features in interior design magazines. She's just finished doing up her house in Wimbledon, and is eyeing up Bath for her next project.