Table of Contents


The following report grew out of a 10 week program in engineering systems design held at Stanford University and the Ames Research Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration during the summer of 1975. This program, sponsored jointly by NASA and the American Society for Engineering Education, brought together nineteen professors of engineering, physical science, social science, and architecture, three volunteers, six students, a technical director, and two co-directors. This group worked for ten weeks to construct a convincing picture of how people might permanently sustain life in space on a large scale.

This report, like the design itself, is intended to be as technologically complete and sound as it could be made in ten weeks, but it is also meant for a readership beyond that of the aerospace community. Because the idea of colonizing space has awakened strong public interest, the report is written to be understood by the educated public and specialists in other fields. It also includes considerable background material. A table of units and conversion factors is included to aid the reader in interpreting the units of the metric system used in the report.

The goal of the summer study was to design a system for the colonization of space. The study group was largely self-organized; it specified important subsidiary goals, set up work groups, and elected its project managers and committee heads. There were three project managers; each served for three weeks during which he assigned tasks, coordinated activities and developed the outline of the final report. As a consequence of this organization, the report represents as nearly as is possible the views of the entire study group. The conclusions and recommendations are the responsibility of the participants and should not be ascribed to any of the sponsoring organizations; NASA, ASEE, or Stanford University .

An effort of the magnitude of this design study could not have been possible without major contributions by many individuals. The co-directors, Richard Johnson of NASA and William Verplank of Stanford, made available to and guided participants in the use of the resources of the Ames Research Center and Stanford University. Their continuing helpfulness and timely assistance were important contributions to the successful conclusion of the project.

The technical director, Gerard K. O'Neill of Princeton University, made essential contributions by providing information based on his notes and calculations from six years of prior work on space colonization and by carefully reviewing the technical aspects of the study.

So many able and interesting visitors contributed to the study participants' understanding of the problem of designing a workable system for colonizing space that it is not feasible to thank them all here. Nevertheless, it is appropriate to acknowledge those from whom the study group drew especially heavily in the final design. In particular Roger Arno, Gene Austin, John Billingham, Philip Chapman, Hubert P. Davis, Jerry Driggers, Peter Glaser, Albert Hibbs, Arthur Kantrowitz, Ken Nishioka, Jesco von Putkammer, and Gordon Woodcock are thanked for their help and ideas.

The assistance of Eric Burgess, who made major contributions to the editorial work, is also gratefully acknowledged.

Curator: Al Globus Space Settlement hompage
NASA Responsible Official: Dr. Ruth Globus Last Updated: July 10, 2002
If you find any errors on this page contact Al Globus.
NASA homepage NASA Ames Research Center homepage Life Sciences hompage Astrobiology homepage