Sometimes procrastination can lead to something great. For all you redditors out there, I highly suggest subscribing to r/Retrofuturism. Thats where I found this incredible rendering by Eric Bruneton of the alien space habitat Rama from Arthur C. Clarke’s science fiction series of the same name. In the first book of Clarke’s series, Rendezvous with Rama, said spacecraft moseys into our solar system, spurring an investigatory expedition by spaceship. The explorers find all sorts of enigmatic things on Rama, and leave largely clueless as to what the hell is actually going on. The rest of the series fleshes out what the hell is actually going on. A fascinating read.
[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”B001OHVP1G” locale=”us” height=”110″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TEcrXrB2L._SL110_.jpg” width=”72″]The Rama object is a sort of adaptation of an O’Neill cylinder, a similar space habitat developed by Princeton physicist Gerard K. O’Neill. This isn’t an O’Neill cylinder per se, but is governed by the same physics. The cylindrical object spins, creating artificial gravity by means of [easyazon-link asin=”9056991124″ locale=”us”]centrifugal force[/easyazon-link]. A proper O’Neill cylinder consists of two counter-rotating cylinders, and is scalable up to 20 miles in length. Space in the cylinders is divided up by function, on the outside are agricultural regions that rotate at a different speed, in the center would be industry which could benefit from lower gravity. There could even be super low gravity recreational areas in the very center!
Personally, the O’Neill cylinder both frightens me and intrigues me. What a beautiful way to spend your days, floating in space. If we could figure out exactly how to build something like this and they asked for volunteers, I’d go. Picture being able to sail a boat in one direction, and ending up back at home. Or seeing the tops of buildings on lower Manhattan from Central Park. Why not? Well.. there’s a possibility something goes catastrophically wrong and you die in the harsh vacuum of space. I suppose thats a good reason why not. Then again maybe we won’t have much of a choice. As [easyazon-link asin=”B00468DKO0″ locale=”us”] Carl Sagan [/easyazon-link] said:
“Since, in the long run, every planetary civilization will be endangered by impacts from space, every surviving civilization is obliged to become spacefaring–not because of exploratory or romantic zeal, but for the most practical reason imaginable: staying alive… If our long-term survival is at stake, we have a basic responsibility to our species to venture to other worlds.”
That being said, I’d go purely for the romantic zeal…