Island One


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Apr 28, 2008
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Hello there!
Some time ago, I bought the book The High Frontier by G.K O'Neil. The book surprised me with the thoroughness and elaboration of the idea of space settlements. This is really surprising, since in fact humanity has long been ready to create such settlements, but has not even started testing technologies. In fact, the idea of habitable settlements in rotating space stations is not new and is more than 100 years old. Some projects, such as the work of Herman Potochnik, were developed in detail, and I even made a model of the station Das Wohrand(according to modern calculations, it would not be possible to live and work in it). But O'Neil's work had a very good scientific justification, including an economic one. I was fascinated by the illustrations for this book, but, unfortunately, only they exist from the entire visualization of the project. Therefore, I became interested in how life could look like in this world and some things are hard to realize when there is at least no model, so I decided to try to create a model of the station in CAD, with real dimensions and refer to the calculations from site SpinCalc.
To create a project, I had to figure out how to do some things, like how to properly position buildings, roads, etc. Since it is necessary to take into account that everything that is located should be on a surface closed in a ring that rotates in space. And because of the effect of rotation, artificial gravity arises, which has its own local features. The first idea that needed to be tested was that prof. O'Neill's book stated that for an Island One type station with a habitable sphere 500 meters in diameter, the number of permanent residents could be around 10,000.
I managed to locate more than 100 buildings in a very small area. At the same time, residential buildings should not be cramped capsules at all. These are buildings of ordinary sizes, the same as on Earth, placed with the usual density as in earthly cities.
View from the low gravity pool. The level of gravity same as martian on this level

Research and calculations have shown that in a sphere of this size, it is possible to place not only one-story buildings, but also buildings over 5 floors, thus accommodating a significant number of inhabitants. At the same time, the average building density will correspond to or even be lower than in large agglomerations.
Placing living space in a sphere also provides many advantages. For example, you can complicate the terrain and get much more surfaces than in such forms as a cylinder or a torus. The ability to place earth-like buildings also means that you can reproduce not only the conditions for life (air, gravity, light), but also completely repeat the familiar environment. In which it is not necessary to adapt to new conditions, but to continue to lead a normal life.
For example, we can reproduce different architectural styles and thereby maintain cultural continuity with the Earth. There will be no need to learn what life is on Earth, as it will be the same in space.

Opposite side.

0,9 G level


Visually, streets within a radius of 50-100 meters will be perceived as on Earth.

The closer to buildings and familiar objects, the more familiar the place will be.


The streets in the ring world will look unusual and very similar to the earth at the same time.

Familiar buildings...