Where did Rana Station Come From?
Its setting, Rana Station, is almost a character in its own right. That’s partially because of the culture, partially because of the communities, and partially because of the incessant need to grow food everywhere possible.
I chose the classic Stanford Torus as the basis for my design, but–like many sf authors–I’ve adapted it.
For one thing, there isn’t a single torus on Rana, but rather a series of eight tori, counter-rotating for better balance and stability, and linked by a long central “Hub,” kind of like an axle linking the eight habitat wheels. For another, the tori are bigger, based on tech first extrapolated for a Bishop Ring.
I have tried numerous times and in numerous ways to visualize for myself how Rana would look on approach. The best way I’ve managed so far to approximate an exterior view is a “quick & dirty” extrapolation in Adobe Illustrator, using a PNG of a bicycle wheel with a transparent background.
It’s still not right, because it doesn’t recreate the space docks and the manufacturing structures. but if you think of the spokes as symbolic of all the elevators from various parts of the 1-G habitat to the Hub, it does give a general idea of what the “wheels” would kinda look like.
If you think this “wheel” structure looks familiar, that’s because it does. Ever since the Stanford Torus was introduced, it’s seemed to many the most earth-like, understandable, and workable of the space-colony habitat designs . . . at least, as far as movies and TV go.
We aren’t likely to be able to provide “artificial gravity” that works like magnetism and switches on or off, at least, not by using any laws of physics that we currently know. Therefore, the gravitation needs to be provided by centrifugal force, created by building rotating megastructures in space.
I’ve created several posts about space station designs that I considered and studied in the course of my “Space Station DIY” series, when I was trying to figure out what kind of space station design I would use for the setting.
I considered space stations/colonies in general, Dyson structures, Bernal spheres, and O’Neill Cylinders. But the torus seemed to me the most likely to provide a reliable 1-G environment that was comprehensible to terrestrial human brains. I liked it better, and I got to be the decider because it’s my story.
I’m planning future posts about aspects of life inside those wheels, including a look at some of the maps and 3D elevations I’ve been creating as paper sculpture, to help me more realistically understand, develop and describe the settings inside this world I’m creating. Stay tuned.
To my chagrin, I can’t relocate the source of the PNG image I used to create my “quick & dirty” Rana Station visualization. I apologize!