Friday, January 13, 2012

Will this be the ISS Replacement?

Painting by Don Davis, courtesy of NASA
It might look like something from the Golden Age of Science Fiction, but the above painting shows a representation of a Stanford Torus Space Station. And, if a recent interview with the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov is anything to go by, it may well be that NASA is working hard to transform the Stanford Torus from Science Fiction to Science Fact...

The Stanford Torus was first proposed in a NASA Summer Study in 1975, held at Stanford University, in which possible designs for future space colonies were discussed. The science behind it is relatively simple; the torus rotates at a speed which generates artificial gravity, close to that of Earth's, on the inside of the outer ring by means of centrifugal force. In 1975, they discussed the possibility of a 1.8km diameter ring, rotating once per minute, that would be capable of supporting 10,000 residents.

In a recent interview, Azarov stated "I will tell you a story: I just got back from a plant in Dnipropetrovsk. Only 20 years ago, it was a highly classified facility that produced missiles and satellites for the Soviet Union. Today, I saw with my own eyes: it is producing the first stage of parts for the US-designed Stanford Torus space station in collaboration with scientists from the United States."

If you're wondering what a Stanford Torus would look like from the inside, well Don Davis has done us the favour of envisioning that as well:

Painting by Don Davis, image courtesy of NASA

While this is likely to only be the early stages of a prototype, I'm excited to think that this type of forward thinking is going ahead and that NASA is conducting research into the practicalities of this technology....

1 comment:

Frank de Kievit said...

If this is true, i'll reroll and become an astronaut!