Space Settlements

spreading life throughout the solar system

"I want Americans to ... push out into the solar system not just to visit, but to stay." Barack Obama, U.S. President, in the 2015 State of the Union address to Congress.

A billion years ago there was no life on land. In a phenomenal development, by 400 million years ago land life was well established. We are at the very beginning of a similar, perhaps even more important, development. Today Earth teems with life, but as far as we know, in the vast reaches of space there are only a handful of astronauts, a few plants and animals, and some bacteria and fungi; mostly on the International Space Station. We can change that. In the 1970's Princeton physicist Gerard O'Neill, with the help of NASA Ames Research Center and Stanford University, discovered that we can build gigantic spaceships, big enough to live in. These free-space settlements could be wonderful places to live; about the size of a California beach town and endowed with weightless recreation, fantastic views, freedom, elbow-room in spades, and great wealth. Subsequent discoveries have brought this dream much closer. In time, we may see millions of free-space settlements in our solar system alone. Building them, particularly the first one, is a monumental challenge. If this sounds exciting, read on.


National Space Society Space Settlement Contest

This annual space settlement design contest for 6-12th grade students has been sponsored by NASA Ames Research Center from 1994-2018, for the last several years in conjunction with the National Space Society (NSS). A Space Act Agreement between NASA and NSS is currently being worked on to continue joint sponsorship of the contest. Meanwhile, the 2019 contest is being sponsored by NSS.

Online Space Settlement Books


Other Space Settlement Web Sites


Parting Words

Arthur C. Clarke once wrote that new ideas pass through three periods:


Curator: Al Globus
If you find any errors on this page contact Al Globus.
Space Settlement hompage

This site was hosted by the NASA Ames Research Center from 1994-2018 and is now hosted by:

National Space Society