§ 6.14 Prototype Designs on the WWW?
Visitors to the PERMANENT website have expressed an interest in setting up a large space colony design on-line. This has included professional architects and engineers as well as graduate students.
It's a good idea, though the usefulness of such a project needs to be clarified in order to guide the project.
While there is an existing space station under construction (ISS), and three past space stations (Skylab, the Salyut series and Mir), plus designs for others (Alpha, MET stations), there has been little professional work on prototype designs for space stations which can produce their own food and artificial gravity.
As of June, 1997, the leading site on the WWW is the space settlements page by Al Globus, which focuses on the basics of large space colonies from lunar and asteroidal materials, general philosophical reasons for colonizing space, artwork and text from the 1970s studies, and the 1990s annual space settlements design contest for students aged 11-18 from anywhere in the world. This site was created in 1995, and has not changed much over the last two years. Its professional design information is pretty much limited to putting up the 1970s reports.
However, in a paper presented by Mr. Globus at the 1995 SSI/AIAA Princeton Conference entitled "Space Settlement, Education, and the Information Super-Highway" (ref.), after discussing the young student projects, he states the ambition of putting up a "Space Settlement Archive (College and Beyond)" and a "Space Settlement Networked CAD", i.e.,
On the first item, Mr. Globus invites people to submit papers and theses closely related to space settlement to the archive, both published and unpublished, and discusses an interactive webpage.
On the second item, Mr. Globus also proposes that people can work together on CAD over the web using the WWW software modules Java and HotJava. "The ultimate goal is a world-wide, interactive, collaborative space settlement design system."
To submit material, or to find out more about the current status of this project, you can contact Mr. Globus by e-mail. (Mr. Globus work is/was at least partly funded by NASA.)
Notably, the founder of PERMANENT sets up AutoCAD workstations and works with many engineers, architects and draftsmen. An AutoCAD drawing could be quite useful for generating additional interest and work.
People from different places in the world have expressed interest in working on space colony designs by sending messages to PERMANENT, including professional architects, engineers and graduate students. What's needed is someone to guide and encourage these efforts in a useful direction over time. It could be Mr. Globus, and/or you at your website which we could point people to, and/or someone taking charge of this project on the PERMANENT website.