Monday, March 12, 2012

Space station fly throughs.

Space propulsion is progressing nicely as many new companies enter the field. Cost and complexity will diminish in the next few years until the price drops to the point where it will be cheap enough to build big space stations. That price is about $3000 a kg is the key target. Its currently $10000. Very few resources would be shipped from earth. The asteroids and the moon would be the main source of supplies.  However to build them we need to build on the success of the international space station that has been testing the material and other aspects of the science. A construction shack space station needs to be launched to do some heavy industry in space.

Then we need to start shooting resources at it from mining robots on the moon and use an asteroid tug to drag a chunk of a near earth asteroid into orbit near the construction shack. A few supplies and fuel will be sent to the construction shack from earth as rockets that are cannibalised for resources.

WE wont live in little zero g habitants like the international space station. That's just a lab. Nor will we live in the construction shack for long. 
We will live in huge centrifuges kilometres in diameter that spin to produce gravity.

Once the large stations are built they become the base replacing the construction shack and becoming the home for thousands. There are enough resources for 700 billion people in the asteroid belt alone.  With these technology there are no limits to growth.

This is what they will look like on the inside and in some cases showing the out side.

Arthur C. Clarke's Rama a representation by Eric Bruneton;  10 km diameter, 30 km long.
Internal surface area including the sea and the full scale duplicate of Manhattan Island:  942 square kilometres.
This is how he built it.
The code is on his site:

Footage of the space station from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Bernal Sphere Space Habitat - Updated flyby.

see also

This is Original larger sphere idea by Aubrey Bernal 1929 about 3-5  km

This habitat is one of the smaller units with accommodation for only about  20,000 to 30,000 people. It's internal habitat space is 12 square km in the main sphere. The cylinders either side of the sphere are the Crystal Palace units: another 10 square kilometres of farms with 5 floors of factory space, livestock farms below that. The Crystal palace design without the Bernal sphere is a stand alone design and probably one of the first stations built.

 Island One, a modified Bernal sphere developed By Gerard K. O'Niell with a diameter of only 500m rotating at 1.9 RPM to produce a full Earth artificial gravity at the sphere's equator. Room for about 5000 people. 

One of the commonest designs is the O'niell Island three design.
There is no good walk through. I'm going to try to fix that.
There are many larger  toroidal space stations. 
fragomatik is a prolific artist. I think his real name is Perry Papadopoulos. In Sydney.



Hollow asteroids are another idea perry has explored.
This looks to be about 1 km on the out side but 5 on the inside. Minor details if the inner scale is right then its  78 to 125 Square km in internal surface area lit by a giant light pipe.

Uzi Berko's design is good too. Its toroidal, about a km wide and 20 km diameter, at a guess, 62 square km but with massive zero g volumes in that huge attached cylindrical structure. That could easily have another 4 or 5 500 m bernal sphere's or smaller toruses in side it. lighting appears to be artificial.

The biggest design is a Bishop ring. This is close to the scale of the halo in Bungie's computer game of that name. A bishop ring 1,000 km (620 mi) in radius and 500 km (310 mi) in width, containing 3 million square kilometres (1.2 million square miles) of living space. It would spin at 1000 m/s which is about 1.7 revolutions per hour. Very fast.

The closet on the web is a ring world flyover. Larry Niven's Ring world is impossibly big. It is a ring wrapped around a sun.

Space stations will not look and feel like being on earth but then being in New York does not feel like being in the countryside of York England. Both have their functions. If you believe in limits to growth then the earth is already badly overpopulated but If you believe that we can make new environments then the options are limitless. Space stations will not just be for the people. there's no reason why the plants and animals can't be endangered species living in combination's not found on earth creating whole new ecosystems that would have never been seen other wise.

On a space station every thing is recycled even the air. Yes there are things that could go wrong but the same is true in any city. An accident on such a station is no more of a problem than a wild fire, a blizzard or a hurricane.
We will work it out.
We must look to the future. If we hope to turn around the world and get it on the right track it helps to have a destination.

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