Humans have always had the desire to explore the outer space. Since the Space Race and the first person traveling beyond the Earth’s orbit, scientists and researchers
10. Bernal Sphere
John Desmond Bernal first presented his idea of a Bernal sphere back in 1929. The sphere is supposed to become a long-term space habitat for 20,000-30,000 people. It would be a spherical shell filled with air, which will let the humans exist inside the sphere. Bernal sphere is just one of the many projects of the space habitats for human colonies outside the Earth. Based on this project, other researchers developed the concepts of Island One and Island Two, which would also accommodate human colonies in space.
StarTram is a concept of a system for transporting cargo to the Earth’s orbit, becoming one of the mind-blowing structures that humans want to build in space. The system would be based on magnetic levitation and is thought to be able to lift about 150,000 tons of cargo per year. For the creation of a similar system able to transport passengers, the developers would need to implement technologies that are more advanced. Ideally, after the funding for the project is provided, it could be completed within 10 years.
8. Lofstrom Loop
Lofstrom loop, or how it is also called launch loop, is a potential megastructure aimed at sending objects into space. It takes its name from the designer of the concept Keith Lofstrom. The loop consists of a sheath, which is attached to our planet at two ends, with its middle hanging in the atmosphere. Inside the sheath, there will be a cable working based on magnetic levitation and transporting objects into space orbit.
7. Space Elevator
The space elevator is one of the future transportation methods and structures that humans want to build in space. The elevator will be represented by a cable, which would have its beginning on the Earth’s surface and its end in the outer space. With this cable, there will be no need for space rockets anymore, since the objects will be able to travel directly to space. The mastermind behind this structure was Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.
6. O’Neill Cylinder
O’Neill cylinder, like Bernal sphere, is a concept of a space habitat for human colonies in the outer space. Gerard O’Neill first suggested the concept in 1976 in the book called “The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space.” Unlike Bernal sphere, O’Neill cylinder would consist not of just one, but two cylinders, which would rotate in different directions, thus creating artificial gravity. This concept also received a name Island Three.
5. Stanford Torus
The other concept of a space settlement, Stanford torus, is thought to have the capacity to host from 10,000 up to 140,000 individuals as its long-term residents. Stanford torus was introduced earlier than Island Three or O’Neill cylinder. Torus is a giant ring shaped like a donut, which rotates in order to create artificial gravity for its inhabitants. Torus does not lack sunlight either, provided by the installed mirrors.
4. Dyson Sphere
Dyson sphere is a concept of a megastructure that was first introduced in a fiction novel and later by scientist Freeman Dyson. The Dyson spheres would be able to encompass a star and use its energy for other purposes. There are two arguments that the researchers are suggesting. First is that there is a need for such structures able to capture energy from stars since the mankind is using enormous amounts of energy. The other one is that the spheres would actually help to find intelligent life in the outer space.
3. Matrioshka Brain
Matrioshka Brain is composed of Dyson spheres, which were mentioned before. The construction of this system is based on matryoshka principle: the smaller element of the same type is nested inside a larger element; same is repeating with smaller ones, and so on. So a number of Dyson spheres formed into a megastructure Matrioshka brain would encompass a star and gather large amounts of energy from it. The concept would require a significant investment of technologies and time.
Yet another space settlement, Topopolis would rotate in order to produce artificial gravity. Topopolis is similar to O’Neill cylinder, but it is much longer, so it can encircle a star, and maybe not just one time. Topopolis is probably the most popular concept of human shelter in the outer space and one of the most interesting structures that humans want to build in space.
1. Cloud Nine
Cloud Nine is the concept of a human settlement in the outer space, which takes the first place in our list. This megastructure was first suggested by Buckminster Fuller, who proposed spherical habitats that levitate due to temperature on the inside of the sphere, which is above the temperature of the outside air. Cloud Nine is flexible, meaning that it can move around if the conditions for the settlement are not suitable in a particular area.