Seventies NASA Concept Art Imagines The Future That Still Hasn’t Arrived

By David Wharton | 8 years ago

Station1We’ve often complained that the future we were promised never arrived. We don’t live in the floating cities or drive the flying cars or smoke the zero-gravity cigarettes the futurists and dreamers of Don Draper’s era imagined. Of course, the truth isn’t that simple. The future did arrive, just in more subtle ways. We can’t buy round-trip tickets to the Moon, alas, but our cell phones are more powerful than computers that once filled entire rooms. I don’t have an android butler, but medical advances make it vastly more likely that I’ll live to see 70 or 80 or even 90 than earlier generations. But still, even knowing all that…I’m still a bit heartbroken that we never got the gorgeous space stations that populated the books I grew up salivating over. Space stations like the one above, and the ones below.

These beautiful images, unearthed by The Daily Mail Online, were created for NASA’s Ames Research Center back in the 1970s, with artists brought on to illustrate the Center’s studies into the possibilities of artificial space colonies. We’re talking the classic, cylindrical wonders in the vein of Babylon 5’s titular station, with buildings and swaths of green curving up on all sides, with the spin of the station simulating gravity for the thousands of residents. I desperately hope that I live to see space exploration become a major priority again, preferably to the point where I can step foot on the Moon for an only semi-insane ticket price. But if that can’t happen, I’d like to at least be able to retire on one of these babies. A guy can dream…