A quick sketch of an O’Neill cylinder, a space colony concept from the 1970s, for Inktober Day 15.
Not long after the US had its successes with the Apollo program, people started to dream big when it came to colonizing space. Dr. Gerald K. O’Neill imagined of building these cylinders as future homes in space - the smallest ones would be a kilometer long and house up to 10,000 people. Sadly, the gulf between dream and reality was huge, as by the time O’Neill had started to pitch his concepts seriously to the government of the day, nobody had any real experience with building large structures in space. We hadn’t even begun to mine the Moon, which would have to be a key source of raw materials for these colonies.
So much needed to be done, so many scientific and engineering questions needed to be answered, and so many resources needed to be committed to a project with no real reward for the leaders of the day, that the project died in the womb.
It’s been nearly 40 years since O’Neill’s vision and we’re no closer to achieving it. But given recent progress with more nations and even private companies reaching space, I expect to see the infrastructure needed to build such colonies being established before my death.
(In other news I think my black Copic marker is finally starting to give out - I bought that marker four years ago. I should look into getting refills.)