> 1970s Paintings of Space Colonies

In the 1970s, NASA produced some not-so-serious studies about independent space colonies. These studies were a basis of a summer academic internship, in which students could demonstrate an amazing imagination by drawing them. Under some interesting concepts about the advantages of a space settlement, it was projected three types of colonies: toroidal, cylindrical and spherical (originally proposed in 1929 by John Desmond Bernal).

"Why should we live in orbit rather than on a planet or moon? Because orbit is far superior to the Moon and Mars for colonization, and other planets and moons are too hot, too far away, and/or have no solid surface."

"Settlements must be air tight to hold a breathable atmosphere, and must rotate to provide pseudo-gravity. Thus, people stand on the inside of the hull. Enormous amounts of matter, probably lunar soil at first, must cover the settlements to protect inhabitants from radiation."

"Solar energy is abundant, reliable and is commonly used to power satellites today. (...) People need air, water, food and reasonable temperatures to survive. On Earth a large complex biosphere provides these. In space settlements, a relatively small, closed system must recycle all the nutrients without 'crashing'." 

"Near-Earth orbital colonies can service Earth's tourist, energy, and materials markets more easily than the Moon. Mars is too far away to easily trade with Earth. Space colonies, wherever they are built, will be very expensive. Supplying Earth with valuable goods and services will be critical to paying for colonization."


"Space settlement needs inexpensive, safe launch systems to deliver thousands, perhaps millions, of people into orbit. If this seems unrealistic, note that a hundred and fifty years ago nobody had ever flown in an airplane, but today nearly 500 million people fly each year."

(video about Bernal Sphere)
(more info and images here)

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