Building Massive Scale Space Constructs

Kevin Kelly’s Technium Blog is consistently mind blowing. If you are not reading it yet, you should. In one of his recent posts he linked to this amazing USA Today slide show that illustrates the evolution of the International Space Station:

Evolution of the Space Station

Click to see the slide show

For one, it’s amazing to see how macro scale modular design really looks like. Modularity is a good thing – this sort of became an engineering mantra. In our daily lives we see it in much smaller scales – computer parts, automobile parts, etc… We don’t often see human habitats built this way.

Most importantly though this suggests how space stations will be built in the future. They will start small, and then slowly grow over time as new modules are added and old ones are replaced. Kevin Kelly suggests that they will grow like modern cities – always expanding, changing and re-shaping their structures. Old, mature stations will be almost labyrinthine networks of new and old modules.

Compare that to the almost canonical monolithic rotating wheel station you can see in most science fiction works. These stations are vastly expensive mega-structures which have to be built in one piece. The wheel can’t really be modularized – once it’s complete you can’t really add to it. You could potentially add more wheels to the spoke, but each one of them would be ass expensive as the first.

The current model of modular, slowly evolving floating city is much more practical, and affordable. Of course without the wheel we can’t have artificial gravity. Still, we are talking about science fiction here. I would think that inhabitants of gigantic modular space hives will likely be geengeneered to survive in zero-g without the usual side effects that plague astronauts today.

This entry was posted in futuristic musings. Bookmark the permalink.



10 Responses to Building Massive Scale Space Constructs

  1. Jenn UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    ou could potentially add more wheels to the spoke, but each one of them would be ass expensive as the first.

    Hahah “ass expensive.” I’m assuming this is a typo, but I usually put “ass” in front or behind words when I’m really angry or emotional. Like “this coffee is ass bitter.”

    Totally off topic – Are you getting Modern Warfare 2 tonight?

    Reply  |  Quote
  2. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    LOL! Yes, it’s a typo but I’m leaving it because it is more characterful this way. :P

    Jenn wrote:

    Totally off topic – Are you getting Modern Warfare 2 tonight?

    Nope. Mass Effect demands that I finish it. And Torchlight is tempting me by playing with my Diablo nostalgia. And I may or may not have gotten infected with the L4D2 bug. So Mondern Warfare will have to wait.

    Reply  |  Quote
  3. Jenn UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    @ Luke Maciak:
    Hope I don’t spoil it, but did you get to the guy-on-alien sex scene in Mass Effect?

    Reply  |  Quote
  4. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @ Jenn:

    Well, no. I ended up sleeping with the human soldier girl. I guess I took a different dialog branch somewhere.

    Reply  |  Quote
  5. Jenn UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    @ Luke Maciak:

    You chose the human over the blue alien chick? THAT’S COLD.

    Reply  |  Quote
  6. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @ Jenn:

    Well, I didn’t even know it was an option. I was totally expecting the sex scene with the blue chick that everyone was talking about.

    Reply  |  Quote
  7. Racist against the blue man.. I see how this is.

    hehe ass expensive.

    ;)

    Reply  |  Quote
  8. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    @ Travis McCrea:

    Seriously, I sort of thought you would be able to sex up all the females in the cast just like in KotOR games (though in those games sex was subtly “implied” but never acknowledged). And the game ended quicker than I expected.

    Reply  |  Quote
  9. Jenn UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Mac OS says:

    @ Luke Maciak:

    You can’t pick a human over the blue chick and then expect her to have sex with you. Come on, Lukasz, get with the program!

    Reply  |  Quote
  10. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @ Jenn:

    My character didn’t get that memo apparently.

    Also, if it makes up for it, my favorite team was Linara (best biotic) + Tali (best tech) which complemented my combat oriented main. Too bad the Quarian armor is like one of the rarest drops in the game.

    Reply  |  Quote

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>