Skip to main content

Space Colony Concepts: NASA's 1970s Vision for Giant Space Stations (Gallery)

Exterior View of Toroidial Colonies

NASA Ames Research Center / Don Davis

In the 1970s, scientists at NASA's Ames Research Center conducted three different studies into how humanity might build colossal space colonies in the form of giant stations. See the wild ideas put to form in these vintage NASA artist illustrations.

Here, an artist depicts the exterior view from one wheel-shaped space colony concept.

Cutaway View of Toroidal Colonies

NASA Ames Research Center / Rick Guidice

An artist’s depiction of the cutaway view, exposing the interior from space colony summer studies conducted at NASA Ames in the 1970s.

Interior View of Toroidal Colonies

NASA Ames Research Center / Don Davis

An artist’s depiction of the interior view from space colony summer studies conducted at NASA Ames in the 1970s.

Construction on Toroidial Colonies

space colony, moon exploration, human spaceflight, moon colony, moon settlement, moon meteorite, moon crater, NASA, spaceflight, Mars

An artist’s depiction of construction along the torus rim of the colonies—one of the three space colony summer studies that were conducted at NASA Ames in the 1970s.

Model of Torus Colony

NASA Ames Research Center

A model of the Torus Colony, which was one of the three space colony summer studies conducted at NASA Ames in the 1970s.

Bernal Spheres Exterior

NASA Ames Research Center / Rick Guidice

An artist’s depiction showing the exterior of Bernal Spheres space colony from space colony summer studies conducted at NASA Ames in the 1970s. The Bernal Sphere is a point design with a spherical living area for a population of 10,000.

Bernal Spheres Interior

NASA Ames Research Center / Rick Guidice

An artist’s depiction of the interior view of Bernal Spheres colony, including human powered flight, from space colony summer studies conducted at NASA Ames in the 1970s.

Bernal Spheres Cutaway View

NASA Ames Research Center / Rick Guidice

An artist’s depiction of the cutaway view of the Bernal Spheres colony, exposing the interior from space colony summer studies conducted at NASA Ames in the 1970s.

Agricultural Modules in Cutaway View

NASA Ames Research Center / Rick Guidice

An artist’s depiction of agricultural modules in a cutaway view from space colony summer studies conducted at NASA Ames in the 1970s.

Construction Crew at Work on Colony

NASA Ames Research Center / Don Davis

An artist’s depiction of a construction crew at work on the Bernal Spheres colony from space colony summer studies conducted at NASA Ames in the 1970s.

Bernal Spheres Model

NASA Ames Research Center

A model the Bernal Spheres colony from space colony summer studies conducted at NASA Ames in the 1970s.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.