Space Settlement

12 01 2012
Space Colony NASA Study

Interior View of of Cylindrical Space Colony, 1975 (NASA AC75-1086). Image courtesy NASA Ames Research Center

Last night, I stumbled upon a collection of artwork documenting a series of space colony studies conducted at NASA Ames in 1975. If you want a snapshot of the U.S. space program during that time, take a look at the text from the NASA Ames/Stanford Summer Study. (If you’re one of my architecture students and you don’t feel like reading the entire book, just take a look at the design goals section.) Apparently, the 21st century is when we’re supposed to fulfill Hermann Oberth’s dream, “To make available for life every place where life is possible. To make inhabitable all worlds as yet uninhabitable, and all life purposeful.”

Well, we know where I stand on that issue (is there a reason humans have to claim every bit of the universe as their very own natural resource?), but still, I love some of the artwork that came out of those early brainstorming sessions.

Cutaway view of Toroidal Space Colony

Cutaway view of Toroidal Space Colony, 1975 (NASA75-1086-1). Image courtesy NASA Ames Research Center

You’ve got to love the mid-century modern multi-family dwellings with terra cotta patios. A more complete collection of renderings of 1975, 1976, and 1978 proposals can be found on the Space Settlement site.