Space settlement proponents and science fiction fans are likely familiar with the Stanford Torus, a gigantic donut-shaped spinning space habitat that could provide Earth-like gravity and climate for as many as 140,000 people.
But you’ve never seen it like this.
Astronomer and illustrator Dr. Mark Garlick used the 3D computer graphics software Blender to create a stunning fly-though video of a Stanford Torus. He recently shared a portion of it on Twitter:
Despite his comments on Twitter, Garlick shared that he “had great fun making this in Blender. It took about 9 to 10 weeks to model, and 48 hours to render the 2160 frames.” For those in the know, he used an RTX3090 and an RTX3080ti, with one card in each of two machines.
Just wow. Garlick’s realistic graphics make our dreams of a thriving future in space seem real.
We’d highly recommend checking out a video on YouTube Garlick posted that includes more stunning frames of the torus fly-through (including flying through structures!) called “The Future of Space Tech” (sorry, its not embeddable, so follow this link) which also includes views of asteroid mining, Venus cloud habitats and starships from Earth arriving at an alien planet, among others, along with some awesome background music and sound effects.
Garlick has been a freelance illustrator since 1996 and has written and/or contributed to 15 books on space and astronomy, including “The Universe: A travel guide” and “A Story of the Solar System.” Garlick told Universe Today his favorite book he wrote is “Cosmic Menagerie,” which he describes as a pictorial inventory of the Universe.
Garlick is active on Twitter, where he posts his latest works. For example, here’s a look at a flight over Pluto:
He has been doing animations since about 2010, and has a BSc and PhD in astronomy.
Garlick explained the details of the Stanford Torus he used:
“The diameter of the overall station is 1.8 km. The interior diameter of the living section is 130 m. The ring section spins once per minute to provide 1g of gravity. Light enters the interior via a series of mirrors. First, a main mirror – always facing the Sun at an angle of 45 degrees – reflects light down to the central hub. This is in turn surrounded by a ring of mirrors, also at 45 degrees, which then direct that light through the glass roof and ‘down’ to the surface. So the light is always directly from above. These latter mirrors can be modulated to turn the lighting on and off, simulating a diurnal cycle.”— Mark Garlick