Paths not taken, how NASA could have changed the modern world

I am sure we live in the dullest parallel world in multiverse. What’s that? You are calling me a geek? Thank you, that is so nice. But really, humans thought of so much awesome things and very little of it was translated to reality. Huge obstacle is, of course, money. But sometimes it’s just scaremongering or bigotry. Or some big and important thought it’s a waste of time or resources. No matter what stops we always have plans. Let’s see what boys and girls at NASA had in mind back in the time when space race was the hottest topic.

 

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This was proposed by USAF, and it should have been manned orbital laboratory. Don’t you just love optimism they had back then? Computers were just a primitive calculators and mobile phones pure science fiction and they wanted to put people in orbiting tin can and do science! Humans are just awesome … and crazy. So top gun pilots wanted NASA boys in this things?

 

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This concept was called “spider” by NASA. It’s from 1977 and it was designed to use space shuttle hardware. Power would be snatched from sun by way of unwinding solar arrays but entire structure would be constructed from empty space shuttle fuel tanks. Now that is recycling.

 

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Ok, this one has nothing to do with NASA. It’s even older. It was proposed by Herman Noordung in 1929. This concept art shows space station with concave mirror in the center. It was supposed to collect sunlight and power the thing. And it was an option for a while that NASA planners could use.

 

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This one looks like something modern people could relate to. It’s simple and slick and functional. Apollo rockets were planned to transfer people and cargo to and from it. That should have been space pit stop. NASA people called it the three-radial-module space station concept. I guess in 1960 that sounded cool or something.

 

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You are probably think now: “Oh, I seen this one. It’s from a movie. You can’t fool me, I iz too smart.” Well, the concept was sound and functional. It’s still is. It would give people a chance to work in quasi gravity generated by centripetal acceleration of rotating torus. You heard of phrase ‘life imitates art’ and this is it. So NASA eggheads actually thought it was good idea too.

 

So what is stopping NASA from doing all this cool space stations now?

Mostly same things that stopped people back then. It costs too much and gain is too small. Or at list people in charge of money say so. Back then they were competing with Russians, they wanted to show the world they can out do them and didn’t think twice how much that would cost. Now times have changed but we have far less ambition for space then we used to. It’s a shame really. We could have huge floating cities in the sky but we are just too darn busy with killing each other. All thought not all plans back then were good. There was actual operation which goal was to detonate nuclear bomb on the Moon. Show of force to those commie russkie rascals. I am glad they didn’t have green light on that one even though it would have been spectacular. I guess ISS is the only manmade light in the sky that can give us hope for better space future.

 

Visual content acquired at GRIN 

Ivan Gocić

Ivan Gocić

My name is Ivan Gocić, creative writter from Serbia. I am passionate about writing, technology, art and renaissance weapons. I am currently writing a book about space wizards, and in my spare time I like sharing some of my thoughts on fun subjects. And yeah, I’m a cynic.

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