Carrying on with our "out of this world" theme this week, we recently came across a fantastic series of illustrations depicting NASA's 1970s investigation of potential space colonies—human settlements that would float between the Earth and the Moon. NASA hired physicist Gerard O'Neill to help develop the concept, and he and his team designed some incredible plans for orbital space habitats. They conceived three versions: a toroidal (or donut-shaped) colony, a cylindrical colony, and a "Bernal sphere," which would house people inside the surface of a sphere.
These images offer a visual feast!
Notably, NASA's Ames Research Center and the National Space Society continue to hold annual design competitions around the theme of space settlement. For more info, visit the Space Settlement Contest homepage.
*All images © NASA / The Commons