Imagine What Life Would be Like on a Giant Rotating Space Station

Inspiration can come in all forms, but one of the best ways to convey ideas and get people excited about them is through art. In particular, video has become one of the most prominent forms of entertainment in our modern lives, whether through 5-second TikToks or 2+ hour-long documentaries on the Crusades. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that some videographers are inspired by concepts in space exploration and can convey that inspiration through their media. And now, thanks to the internet, a new entrant to that category has recently surfaced.

One Revolution Per Minute, the latest inspirational space exploration short film, was written, produced, and directed by Erik Wernquist, an animator who is perhaps better known as the creator of the Crazy Frog meme from the late 2000s. He has more recently transitioned into more space-oriented concepts, with one of his latest efforts being a documentary about Gerard K O’Neill, the original inventor of the O’Neill Cylinder, an early form of rotating space station.

In that vein, One Revolution Per Minute follows the space station SSPO Esperanta as it journeys through different parts of the solar system. The Esperanta itself is designed like “a hotel or cruise ship,” according to a note Mr. Wernquist attached to the video. At various points throughout the video, viewers can see a wall of mirrors or a relaxing lounge complete with filled wine glasses.

Here’s a link to the full video of One Revolution Per Minute on YouTube.
Credit – Erik Wernquist YouTube Channel

And, to be clear, the visuals are absolutely stunning. At one point, a person comes into the frame, and after watching the video a dozen times, it’s still unclear whether this is a video of an actual human or just more graphical wizardry. And the views of the various places in the solar system, including Mars and Saturn, are breathtaking.

However, I must be a quibbling science writer here and say that the video gets some of the physics wrong. The way the outside scenery rotates doesn’t match the way gravity would force the objects and the person (if you, like my wife, point out that the objects might be bolted down) to be held down to the floor.

That’s a minor quibble, given the majesty the film presents. It truly is breathtaking. But it also reminded me of another video that inspired me when I first watched it a few years ago. If you’ve never seen Wanderers, complete with its voice-over by the granddaddy of astronomy communicators – Carl Sagan, it is well worth a watch. And it happens to be made by the same person. So, at this point, I think it’s safe to say that Mr. Wernquist has taken over the mantle of the most inspiring filmmaker for fans of space exploration. May he continue his journies to “sights [he’d] like to see from places [he’ll] never be.”

Wanderers – still one of the greatest inspirational space exploration videos ever created.
Credit – Erik Wernquist YouTube Channel

Learn More:
Erik Wernquist – One Revolution Per Minute
UT – This Short Film is a Stunning Preview of Human Space Exploration
UT – A Human Migration to Space is NOT so Inevitable, says New Research
UT – New Video Will Get You Excited for New Horizons’ Pluto Encounter (as if you already aren’t…)

Lead Image:
Still from the video showing the outside of the Esperanta Space Station.
Credit – Erik Wernquist