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Entries in space station (13)


Space Station (1956)

Today's retro-futuristic eye candy comes from the 1956 book The Complete Book of Space Travel. This donut-shaped space station, popularized by Wernher von Braun, popped up on TV, in films and even on lunch boxes. Do the kids these days still carry lunch boxes? I really have no idea. I vaguely recall carrying an ALF lunch box to school, but I may be stealing that memory from a Full House episode or something.


Previously on Paleo-Future:



Toroidal Space Colony of the Future (1982)

This image appears in the 1982 book Walt Disney's Epcot Center: Creating the New World of Tomorrow. One thing I find curious about the illustration is that it appears to be of a toroidal (or circular) space station, but you can see what looks like sailboats in the water. My simplistic (child-like, really) understanding of toroidal space colonies leads me to believe that they spin to simulate gravity. But how could there be anything resembling wind within them? Someone smarter than myself, please enlighten us all.

Previously on Paleo-Future:


Space Colonies of the Year 2000 (1979)

In the 1979 book Star Wars Question and Answer Book About Space R2-D2 and C-3PO take young readers through space, explaining different types of telescopes, the search for UFOs, exploding stars, and future space colonies! The image below is described as a space colony that humans could be living in by the year 2000! The book contains other illustrations of space colonies but we've already looked at them here.

NASA pictures a space colony that humans could buildin 22 years. Shaped like a wheel, it has room for 10,000 people inside. It circles Earth 250,000 miles out in space - as far away as the moon! The structure keeps spinning to create artificial gravity inside.

The space colony has its own air sealed in tight against space. It carries its own water supply, which can be cleaned and used over and over again. Sunshine provides light and power. A large turning paddle helps remove heat that is not needed.

Babies will be born, children will go to school, and adults will work in the space colony. It will have homes, schools, hospitals, and stores. Farms will provide plants and animals for food. There will be factories where clothes and other necessities will be made.

If we started this project right away, humans could have a colony in space soon after the year 2000!

Previously on Paleo-Future:


Colonies in Space (1987)

The January, 1987 cover of Odyssey magazine featured colonies in space, as drawn by their cover contest winner. Stay tuned as we explore some of the best 1980's content from this magazine.

See also:
Space Colony Pirates (1981)
Space Spiders (1979)
Welcome to Moonbase (1987)


Space Age Lunch Boxes (1950s and 60s)

The Smithsonian has an online exhibit which includes these lunch boxes from the late 1950s and early 1960s. The satellite lunch box from 1958 shows a torodial space station, which is featured prominently in the short film Challenge of Outer Space. Excerpts from the Smithsonian website appear below each picture.

Satellite Lunch Box (1958)

The Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite in late 1957 sparked interest in the United States in science education even among elementary school children. In 1958, King Seeley Thermos produced this imaginative box evoking space travel and landings on distant moons and planets. Children provided a receptive audience to this imaginary yet hopeful view of scientific achievement in the early years of the space race. This is one of the few pop culture lunch boxes from the late 1950s not designed around a television show.

Jetsons Lunch Box (1963)
Aladdin Industries profited from the success of The Jetsons television cartoon series in the fall of 1963 by introducing a domed lunch box featuring that space-traveling suburban family and their robotic maid. American notions of family life in the 1960s traveled effortlessly outward to interplanetary space on this fanciful box.

Domed metal lunch boxes traditionally were carried by factory employees and construction workers, but Aladdin and other makers found the curved shape made an excellent young person's landscape, ocean scene, or starry sky. Despite the more earth-bound adult concerns of the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 and the Kennedy assassination, The Jetsons box and bottle showcase the metal lunch box at the zenith of its design life and its popularity among school children.

(Found in yesterday's USA Today)

See also:
Challenge of Outer Space (circa 1950s)
The Complete Book of Space Travel (1956)
Mars and Beyond (1957)
Man and the Moon (1955)


The Complete Book of Space Travel (1956)

The classic 1956 book The Complete Book of Space Travel contains some amazing imagery. The book was targeted at young boys and had that unique blend of sincerity, wonder and confidence we so often see in 1950s futurism. As early as 1956 the question was not if we'd explore the moon and other planets in our solar system, but when we would make this a reality. Chapter 22 is even titled, "If We Are Visited First."

Below is the introduction to the book as well as an illustration from the title page. Stay tuned as we look deeper into this paleo-futuristic classic in the coming weeks.

The first space pilot has already been born. He is probably between ten and sixteen years of age at this moment. Without doubt both he and his parents listen to radio and television programs dealing with much space adventure but with few accurate facts. This book is designed to outline the facts of space travel, and the conditions we expect to find in space and among the planets and stars. These facts alone are sufficiently exciting, since they are factors in man's greatest single adventure - the exploration of the universe.

This book has not been written for the space pilot alone. It is written for his engineer, his astrogator, the vast grounds crews who will design the ship, and the many people whose taxes and investments will make it vital to understand the problems and progress of space travel.

Space travel is already here. Flying saucers are probably indicative of space travel by a race other than ours. We are slowly solving the problems of man's own survival in space. It is only a matter of a few years, and many, many dollars, before our first space pilot will launch himself into the last frontier of exploration, adventure, and commerce.

We read much about space stations, the small man-made satellites which will be designed to circle the earth at an altitude of several thousand miles. Actually, these space stations will be very useful, even if space travel never develops any further, and we should know about them too.

Although much has been written about space travel, much of this material deals with the mechanics of ship construction to get us into space.

It is the purpose of this book, on the other hand, to show that space travel is also a biological problem, even perhaps to a greater extent than it is an engineering problem. Moreover it is the purpose of this book to describe, to the best of present knowledge, what we expect to encounter when we get to space. This is important, because the success of man's greatest adventure will depend upon being well prepared.

Today, space travel is one of the ultimate goals of scientific and military research. The familiar cry, "Who rules the moon controls the earth!" reflects our readiness to exploit space. Our military might is ready for space; our economic strength is ready for space; soon our ships will be ready for space.

Let's find out what space travel is all about.

See also:
Man and the Moon (1955)
Mars and Beyond (1957)
Challenge of Outer Space (circa 1950s)
Animal Life on Mars (1957)
Plant Life on Mars (1957)


Lyndon B. Johnson on 2063 A.D. (1963)

Today we have Lyndon B. Johnson's predictions for the future of space exploration, as printed in the book 2063 A.D..

Perhaps the outstanding feature of a prediction about the next century in space is that our imagination today is too limited to visualize the vast possibilities. In other words, more will be accomplished in space than we can now come anywhere near labeling as specific projects and benefits.

Among the space activities in the next one hundred years will probably be: weather control, global communication, global navigation, regular travel of people and freight between places on earth and space stations and the planets, and international policing against space and terrestrial conflicts.

The benefits flowing from space activities will be even more widespread than the space activities per se. Education, language, living standards, and world peace will all benefit as space exploration and space living become a permanent part of man's institutional structure.

See also:
General Dynamics Astronautics Time Capsule (1963)
Broken Time Capsule (1963-1997)