The Concept

The Concept

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A concept art of a Stanford Torus by Rick Guidice
A concept art of a Stanford Torus by Rick Guidice. Source: NASA (opens in a new tab)


Ladies, gentlemen and everyone who doesn't feel adressed by these terms: We've finally come to the most important of all chapters, rivaled only eventually by the one following after it. In this chapter, we'll learn that Space Habitats will most probably be the biggest yet most underrepresented way of living for us humans in the not-so-near future.

Before we venture into the rabbit hole that is trying to construct, maintain and power this donut with energy, let's explore the concept and what it has to offer.


There aren't too many different concepts for Space Habitats, but the most prominent ones are the Stanford Torus and the O'Neill Cylinder. Both look quite similar: Both are round, although not equally, both try to use solar energy to power themselves and both have living spaces located on their inner surface area.

We will discuss the Stanford Torus in detail because despite a lot of similarities, the O'Neill cylinder unsurprisingly is a cylinder and relies on trusses and cables running along it's length to counteract tensile forces generated by the rotation of the structure. The Stanford Torus has a continuous circular shape, which provided inherent structural stability and has made me conclude it would be a better candidate for a Space Habitat blueprint.

An artists impression of a Stanford Torus
An artists impression of a Stanford Torus. Source: DeviantArt (opens in a new tab)

The Stanford Torus is shaped like a Torus, a geometric figure similar to a donut with the difference of having a bigger hole than a donut. It is made up of two major components: The rotating torus and the hub at the center.


The rotating Torus

The Torus rotates around its central axis, creating centrifugal force that acts as artificial gravity. If you have issues understanding or picturing this, think of the "Endurance", the spaceship in Interstellar or the "Discovery One" from "2001: A Space Odyssey". Both are rotational toruses, utilizing centrigual force to push objects outwards radially from the axis of rotation. This is why the crew can walk around on the ship instead of flying through zero gravity like in the ISS.

The 'Endurance' from Interstellar
The 'Endurance' from Interstellar. More info: IMDb (opens in a new tab)

The interior surface of the torus serves as the living area, with residential modules, agriculture, recreational spaces, and other facilities. The rotation speed could be carefully calibrated to provide a comfortable level of gravity, similar to what is experienced on Earth.

The Hub

At the center of the torus is a hub, which contains the docking facilities, power systems and other infrastructure. The hub also connects to external transportation systems, such as spacecraft or space elevators, allowing for transportation to and from the habitat.

Solar Power

To provide energy for the habitat, large solar panels are positioned around the outer rim of the torus. These panels capture sunlight and convert it into electricity, which is then distributed throughout the habitat. However, additionally to the solar panels, the outer rim of the torus also needs a ton of radiation shielding. We will look at that in a later section of this chapter.

Life Support

A Stanford Torus big enough to feature an artificial weather cycle
A Stanford Torus big enough to feature an artificial weather cycle. Source: Unknown

The interior surface of the torus would be divided into multiple levels, let's call them stripes. These stripes accommodate agricultural areas where crops are grown using hydroponics or other cultivation methods. Artificial lighting systems could mimic natural sunlight to support plant growth. This self-contained agriculture system ensures a sustainable food supply for the inhabitants.

The living quarters for the inhabitants would be located in the residential stripes attached to the inner surface of the torus. These stripes provide living spaces, recreational areas, workspaces, and other amenities needed for a comfortable lifestyle in space.

The concept also incorporates advanced life support systems to maintain a habitable environment. These systems regulate temperature, humidity, and air quality, and recycle waste materials to minimize resource consumption.


A Space Habitat in form of a Stanford Torus could provide a self-sustaining habitat that can simulate earthlike conditions without having to terraform a planet or comply to it's eventual weather conditions. Seriously though, the longer we look at this, the more you'd have to ask yourself "How the f*** are we supposed to build these things?".

And that's a perfectly valid question! Let's find a solution.

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