14 July 2009

Outer Space Colony for Geosynchronous Orbit

The space colony Asten, named after the Egyptian god of balance is 1.6 kilometer-high structure made up of a series of habitation rings stuck in the shape of a cylinder. The entire structure rotates on its axis, simulating Earth-like gravity for its inhabitants. _NewLaunches
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The design for this space colony comes from Eric Yam, high school student from Toronto. Eric was a co-winner of the 2009 NASA Space Settlement Contest.
"He basically built a Utopia from scratch," said math and physics teacher Gillian Evans, staff advisor on the project.

Yam's innovative design, built as a series of stacked rings resembling a cylinder, would house a self-sustaining colony of 10,000 people and up to 300 visitors, including paying tourists, in the year 2050.

A hotel section would include a panoramic outer gallery with transparent walls, perfect for watching the earth, moon and stars.

Yam called his design Asten, another name for the Egyptian god Thoth, master of divine and physical law.

A pdf of the design can be viewed at: http://www.tdsb.on.ca/wwwdocuments/about_us/media_room/docs/ASTEN.pdf _Star

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Blogger kurt9 said...

The $500 billion price tag is the reason why it will never be built. Freeman Dyson has always said that space colonization will not occur into the cost per person drops to around $500,000 or so. A habitat for 10,000 would need to cost less than $5 billion or so.

Besides, who wants to live in these small modules. It would be like living in a high-rise building that you can never go outside.

Seasteading makes more sense at this time.

Tuesday, 14 July, 2009  
Blogger Towards infinity said...

Very clever design. Kudos.

Tuesday, 14 July, 2009  
Blogger Bruce Hall said...

The cost of transporting materials into orbit is part of the price tag. Many science fiction writers, as far back as the 1960s to my knowledge, have postulated elevators to space using cables with impossibly high tensile strengths that were counter-weighted with a mass equal distance from the elevator's destination to the earth.

Your blog had a similar thesis about a year ago, but using helium as the support medium.

But beyond getting materials to space is the daunting task of protecting any structure from debris... natural and man-made. And beyond that is even greater problems with the space environment, including peak radiation. Perhaps some sort of self-repairing "skin" is required at a minimum. Then a generated powerful electro-magnetic field in combination with exotic materials to deflect solar radiation.

Perhaps once fusion reactors have be developed and miniaturized, these floating space structures will become commonplace. Or solar power from external collectors might be sufficient and achieved through some sort of microwave transmission since cables would be dangerous and impractical.

Given another 100 years, we may see something approaching a practical structure. Of course, I won't be around to learn how foolish that prediction is.

Wednesday, 15 July, 2009  
Blogger Loren said...

Nice idea for a colony. Spending long periods in space isn't hard though, you just have to work around the problem of microgravity's affects on your body. Most of these can be mitigated though by simply not spending long periods in space.

Two ways to do that:

Keep missions shorter, which even with a reduced cost of travel, means more money than a company might like to spend, and precludes Mars missions and the like.

Take some "gravity" with you. Someone spending years in space might like wholy incompassing gravity through centrifugal force. A mission of a few months at a time, or a deep space mission where mass and volume are more critical, could just put the gravity in part of the ship. Build a ring big enough to have the off-duty crew sleeping, but that's it. This presents a different stress on the body though, as you go through daily transitions from gravity to weightlessness.

Wednesday, 15 July, 2009  

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