Living in Space – The Asteroid Bubbleworld

This video illustrates an idea from the golden-age of Science-Fiction and early space-exploration: The Asteroid Colony.

The idea of an asteroid inhabited by human colonists has been around for some time, with many examples from classic SF and TV:

• The Sargasso Asteroid – from Alfred Bester’s novel “The Stars My Destination”
• Confinement Asteroid – from Larry Niven’s “Known Space” series
• The Stone – from Greg Bear’s novel EON
• Red Dwarf – from Grant & Naylors’s cult TV sci-fi comedy series
• Yonada – ST:TOS Ep #63 “For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky” by Rick Volaerts
• 2312- by Kim Stanley Robinson

Over the years many different approaches have been suggested for carrying out such an ambitious piece of engineering. One of the most intriguing of the “real-life” proposals was the “Cole Bubbleworld” by the visionary Dandridge Cole in the 60’s.

This video is an attempt to visualize such an artefact. It’s my take on Cole’s concept…with a few enhancements.

While researching the subject, it soon became apparent that the idea is very likely impossible to achieve. We now know a lot more about asteroid composition than was available to Cole when he first proposed the idea 50 years ago…

Asteroid composition and cohesiveness are important attributes which affect structural strength and stability of the asteroid body. Most asteroids appear to be too fragile and unstable to attempt excavation on a large scale.

In any case, for the purposes of this video, I have chosen to conveniently ignore these (and many other) problems!

The technology illustrated is purely speculative! While I’ve tried to be reasonably faithful to the science, please bear in mind that I am not a scientist. In some sequences I’ve sacrificed authenticity for “drama” in order to evoke a feeling or to add interest — hopefully I’ve succeeded!

For the stuff I got right, all credit goes to the references below. Any errors are purely my own.


September 2010

Music Track:

“DLDN Instrumental” by timberman (feat. Onlymeith, Mellotroniac)
is licensed under a Creative Commons license:

3d Software – Imagine v2.19 by Impulse
Video Editing – VirtualDub & Cyberlink Powerdirector

Meshes and Textures
All of the objects and textures used are my own creations, with a few exceptions listed below.

Countdown –
Signage –
Seated Man-
Apollo CSM –
Astronaut –

References & Links

[1] O’Neill Cylinder
[2] Bubble Worlds
[3] SpinCalc
[4] Rendering Earth
[5] Creative Commons License
[6] Colonies in Space by TA Heppenheimer
[7] Space Settlements
[8] Space Settlements: A Design Study
[9] Impact Shielding

Flattr this!