Tuesday, 31 August 2010
Back in the 1970s, NASA was creating seriously trippy images of lush, green human habitats crammed inside tubes in space. Farms and happy townsfolk stretch upwards and even wrap over your head, like an M.C. Escher vista. More weirdness below.
We've paid tribute to NASA's concept art before, but The Urban Times has dug up a treasure trove of insane colony art, much of it by painter extraordinaire Don Davis. Check out more of our favorites below, and there's tons more at the links. [NASA via The Urban Times]800x600 | Full Size ');
Send an email to Charlie Jane Anders, the author of this post, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your version of Internet Explorer is not supported. Please upgrade to the most recent version in order to view comments.Read Rendezvous with Rama for an awesome description of a giant alien cylinder space craft that enters the solar system. It's short and and a classic by Arthur C. Clarke.
I like the habitat descriptions from the Reality Disfunction series. Its like the O'Neill cylinder but instead of windowed sections and large reflectors, it has a central illumination fixture and habitat around the entire circumference. Instead of building on the surface going up, buildings descend out of the habitat as spike sky scrapers going out into space. Allows you to achieve an urban density with an uncluttered habitat space in the center. Reply
It's only missing Zaku's busting in through the glass. Reply
This kind of thing brings to mind some basic questions I've always had about this kind of thing. I understand how the centripetal forces work, in conjunction with friction against the inside of the spinning hull. It essentially keeps diverting into a circular path, instead of a single direction. I also see how the objects on the surface would interact with the in contact with them to form air currents.
However, there is no actual gravity. The air pressure is just from the entire interior being sealed and pressurized like a CO2 cartridge. The pressure would be even (though the mass of the sides would have a very minor pull on the molecules in the air.
So, on to my questions: If you tossed a rock into the air, I presume it would seem to fall back to the ground in the opposite direction of the structure’s rotation. But would it even fall back? Would it move away in the direction you tossed it (minus any wind resistance) until it hit the other side, all the while you and the ship are rotating, giving the rock a perceived arc trajectory? If you just held it up and let go, would it just float there, and seem to move away in the opposite direction of rotation, gradually falling until it hit the ground (since it would be moving in a straight line until being diverted by the grounds circular path)?
What would happen to vapor and condensation expelled by the inhabitants and the plants? Would there be a constant fog or would it all move to the center in a long cloud until it became a column of water? Reply
It's a shame too many people are content to go no further than Low Earth Orbit. Instead of shooting for the stars, they'd rather grub in the dirt for another few centuries. Think where we could've been by now if the effort begun in the 60's hadn't fizzled out in favor of inward-looking rather than outward expanding. Reply
I am always amused at the idea that we would simply 'transplant' sprawling agricultural and landscape systems in sort of a Bradbury-esque kind of way. Great for a Suburbs-in-Space made-for-tv mockumentary.
I envision more of a dense, honey-combed hydroponic layout. Reply
i used to check out the books full of this stuff in elementary school.
still waiting. ReplyDr Emilio Lizardo promoted this comment
A number of these images were used in a book I had as a child circa late 70's/early 80's. Unfortunately, that book didn't last until my adult years and I've been hunting for it for a looooong time. I've long since forgotten teh title, but at least now I have an illustrator's name. I'm closer the mystery being solved, THANKS CHARLIE JANE!!! Reply
I always loved the Space Colony artwork...but I am a realist. It is more likely to involve the orbiting of 360 Nuclear Submarines with Airlock ports at each end linked together to make a space wheel or helical so it can be built on forever.
Then everyone lives like Submarine crews. Reply
Just remember to keep your friendly neighborhood Vorlon close by... Reply
I remember seeing some of these back when I was a kid. It is kinda sad that we haven't really made any of these big advancements. However, some of the robotic instruments are doing a good job of finding what is out there. Most advancements are evolutionary rather then revolutionary. Reply
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