|Painting by Don Davis, courtesy of NASA|
The Stanford Torus was first proposed in a NASA Summer Study in 1975, held at Stanford University, in which possible designs for future space colonies were discussed. The science behind it is relatively simple; the torus rotates at a speed which generates artificial gravity, close to that of Earth's, on the inside of the outer ring by means of centrifugal force. In 1975, they discussed the possibility of a 1.8km diameter ring, rotating once per minute, that would be capable of supporting 10,000 residents.
In a recent interview, Azarov stated "I will tell you a story: I just got back from a plant in Dnipropetrovsk. Only 20 years ago, it was a highly classified facility that produced missiles and satellites for the Soviet Union. Today, I saw with my own eyes: it is producing the first stage of parts for the US-designed Stanford Torus space station in collaboration with scientists from the United States."
If you're wondering what a Stanford Torus would look like from the inside, well Don Davis has done us the favour of envisioning that as well:
|Painting by Don Davis, image courtesy of NASA|
While this is likely to only be the early stages of a prototype, I'm excited to think that this type of forward thinking is going ahead and that NASA is conducting research into the practicalities of this technology....