For years, man has dreamed of living in space. However, life off of Earth isn’t quite as easy as it’s depicted in The Jetsons. There are problems that exist in space, like exposure to cosmic rays, which would lead to radiation poisoning. Then there are the dangers of flying space debris, like asteroids. Still, thanks to our innate urge to explore and colonize new lands, there have been a handful of people who have looked for ways to make life in space possible.
1. Darrell C. Romick’s Space City
In 1955, Goodyear Aircraft engineer Darrell C. Romick showed the American Rocket Society a proposal for an ambitious space station. Romick’s craft would be a three-stage space launch, and what separates Romick’s design from many other spacecraft is that all three stages would involve crafts that could be piloted and re-used.
Romick’s city would be constructed in space. The third stage spacecraft would be a rocket and 10 of these rockets would be attached end-to-end, which would create a long cylinder. As they connected the rockets, an airtight shield would be built over them, and after six months a large expansion would be built over the cylinder to give it more of a capsule look. There would also be a flat circular living space at one end that would house 20,000 people, and at the opposite end of the living quarters there would be dry docks for ships to land.
In total, the space station would be the size of two Empire State Buildings end-to-end, while the circular living area would be about the size of the Pentagon. According to Romick’s plans, it would take three and a half years to complete the city in space.
2. The Bernal Sphere
An early vision of a habitat in space was the Bernal Sphere, which was designed by British scientist John Desmond Bernal. It was meant to be a sphere with two poles attached on opposite sides. The sphere would be one mile in circumference and would hold 10,000 people. The end of the poles would have docking areas and other zero gravity manufacturing would be done there. Like many other habitats in space, it would have to spin to create gravity, and according to the plans it would have its own agricultural system and be powered using solar panels.
Originally, it was thought that one of these spheres would have been constructed by the 1990s. But of course, decades later, a floating space habitat remains a dream.