NASA's Ringworlds Look A Bit Like Halo

A while back the big brains over at NASA thought that Space colonies might look a bit like the above. Our first thought? Stop ripping off Halo you idiots. Our second thought - we're idiots. Maybe Bungie were ripping off NASA...

Regardless, past versions of the future are awesome. And we totally wish we could live in a 60s NASA Halo space wonderland.

Retro Ringworlds [Gizmodo]


    Bungie pulled the Halo from Larry Niven's 'Ringworld' and Iain M. Banks' Orbitals in his Culture novels:

    I'd imagine that Banks was inspired by Niven, and Niven by NASA since his stuff is usually fairly well-grounded in the science side of science fiction.

      Niven (and doubtless Banks) were inspired by Freeman Dyson's ideas (see the Dyson Ring), who was himself inspired by Olaf Stapledon's novel Star Maker, written in 1937.

    Looks a lot more like The Citadel from the Mass Effect universe than the Halo worlds...

    Sign me up nonetheless!

      yeh totally my first impression

    Looks a lot like the citadel from Mass Effect.

    Reminds me a bit of the habitats in Peter F Hamilton's books, too.

      I loved his books, but I could never quite conceptualize what the habitats looked like. Were they rings like this? Did they only have people on one 'side' of the ring, or did it go all the way around. I remember them talking about seeing people above you walking on what appears to you to be the ceiling.

        I believe they were hollow cylinders with the terrain all over the inside. So I guess you could walk to a place directly above where you started.
        And the star-scrapers were kinda opposite as you went down into them with the lowest floor the furthest out to space.

    Bungie ripping off other people's ideas? NO! I don't believe it!

    I like Halo, but it's nothing new. They've taken some spuds, mashed them up, squashed them together, baked them at 180 degrees for 30 minutes, called them freedom fries and stuck them all together to build a blocky 7 foot tall super soldier.

      And he tastes amazing! in hindsight, I probably should've used "it" rather than "he"... :|

          i think it works better with 'he'...


    Space environments have been based on the concept of a ring or cylinder for a long time. I don't have citations to back this up, but it all stems from our need to have gravity. They are rings/cylinders for the simple reason that you can generate a force that will feel like gravity by spinning them. That way we can walk around on the outer wall and feel that we're being pressed downwards.

    But either way, science and science fiction have had a healthy symbiosis for a long, long time!

    Everyone's claiming Halo, but clearly nobody has played Vanquish:

    And THEY SHOULD, coz the game effin rocks ass.

      Great game. Yep, I thought of the title screen with that sphere world and the techno music before I thought Halo or Mass Effect Citadel.

    I wish people would stop treating Halo as if it created everything.

      I now realize I missed the obvious sarcasm in the original post, thereby making my previous post a tad mean and redundant. My mistake.

    How does the gravity work? I haven't read the novels that you guys have mentioned, is this point ever explained?

      hi ben, ever used a washing matchine or dryer before? know how your clothes cling to the sides of the thing by the end?

      thats how gravity works on these rings. they spin quickly enought to create a force that mimics gravity. forcing everything to cling to the edges of the rings.

      as in the images thats why the "ground" is the outer edge and the "sky" is the inner edge of the ring.

      The gravity effect is centrifugal force.

      As a simple explanation of how it works, imagine you have a stone attached to a string and you start spinning it around in a circle. You'll feel the stone trying to pull away from you, because it wants to continue travelling in its current direction (a straight line) but the string keeps pulling it in to rotate in a circle.

      Now imagine that you are the stone, and the string is the floor of the rotating ring holding you at a fixed distance from the centre. From this rotating frame of reference, the force acting against you will feel like gravity pressing you against the inside of the ring.

      Another example is the gravitron ride you might have seen at amusement parks.

      The stations rotate which create an artificial gravity through centrifugal or centripetal force. I can't remember which, I never really understand how centripetal force worked.

      "A rotating spacecraft will produce the feeling of gravity on its inside hull. The rotation drives any object inside the spacecraft toward the hull, thereby giving the appearance of a gravitational pull directed outward. Often referred to as a centrifugal force, the "pull" is actually a manifestation of the objects inside the spacecraft attempting to travel in a straight line due to inertia. The spacecraft's hull provides the centripetal force required for the objects to travel in a circle (if they continued in a straight line, they would leave the spacecraft's confines). Thus, the gravity felt by the objects is simply the reaction force of the object on the hull reacting to the centripetal force of the hull on the object, in accordance with Newton's Third Law."

      From wikipedia - Artificial Gravity article

      The gravity works by centrifugal force - (very) basically, spinning the ring makes everything want to fly outwards, but the floor of the ring pushes back up and supports everything. The speed of the ring determines the strength of the gravity.

      To all the people above.
      Its CentriPETAL force, not centrifugal.
      Sorry, inner nerd coming out....

    Orbital Ring from Teknoman (Tekkamn Blade), anybody?

    This is my absolute favourite piece of ringworld/toroidal space station art (Mass Effect citadel concept art):

    If you dig this kind of setting, I'd highly recommend a little known successor to the Theme Hospital and Dungeon Keeper games called Startopia from back in 2001, where you manage a 3-tier ring station!

    You can also see the 'artificial gravity through centrifugal/centripetal force' concept at work in the design of the Discovery One interior from 2001: A Space Odyssey. If you haven't seen it yet kids... well, you need to put away the comic-book movies for a few years and start catching up with some real cinema.

    I've only played the first Halo, it was fun and had great visual design... but I seriously doubt there was an original concept in the whole franchise.

    I was going to comment but... Wow, carry on people. Awesome stuff.

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