O’Neill cylinders as illustrated in The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space

O'Neill cylinders as illustrated in The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space

O’Neill cylinders as illustrated in The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space, a 1976 book by Gerard K. O’Neill, a road map for what the United States might do in outer space after the Apollo program, the drive to place a man on the Moon and beyond. It envisions large manned habitats in the Earth-Moon system, especially near stable Lagrangian points. Three designs are proposed: Island one (a modified Bernal sphere), Island two (a Stanford torus), and Island 3, two O’Neill cylinders. These would be constructed using raw materials from the lunar surface launched into space using a mass driver and from near-Earth asteroids. The habitats were to spin for simulated gravity and be illuminated and powered by the sun. Solar power satellites were proposed as a possible industry to support the habitats.

Image: Wikipedia

O’Neill found that pairing counter-rotating cylinders would eliminate the need to spin them using rockets. This configuration has since been known as the O’Neill cylinder.

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