Humans have long desired to build megastructures in space and live permanently in these structures. The quest to help humanity attain this futuristic goal inspired Forrest Bishop of the Institute of Atomic-Scale Engineering to propose the concept of the Bishop Ring in 1997. Although many people saw this idea as something beyond our technological capabilities, many scientists and engineers are looking forward to bringing similar ideas into reality. But What will the Bishop Ring be made of and how can we actualize this sophisticated megastructure in the future? Continue reading to find out.
What is Bishop Ring Rotating Space Habitat?
Bishop Ring is a hypothetical rotating space habitat proposed by Forrest Bishop as a smaller version of the Banks Orbitals. Bishop planned this futuristic megastructure to rotate and generate a centrifugal force that will power the habitat with artificial gravity. Unlike the Niven ring or the O’Neill cylinder, the bishop ring will be designed with carbon nanotubes instead of steel. Hence, this sophisticated building material will enable the engineers to make the bishop ring appear much larger.
The brain behind this megastructure proposed that the habitat will be built to be about 1,000 km (620 mi) in radius and 500 km (310 mi) in width, with 3 million square kilometers (1.2 million square miles) of living space. This sophisticated giant structure of this habitat will be comparable to the area of India or Argentina. Hence, a lot of effort will be put into action for the success of this project to be actualized in the near future.
Since this megastructure will be built to be so massive, the engineers may not enclose it with a roof. Instead, the atmosphere of the habitat will be protected by artificial gravity and atmosphere retention walls that will be about 200 km (120 mi) in height. Its axis of rotation would be oriented to be perpendicular to the plane of its orbit. As for the source of light, Forrest Bishop proposed that mirrors could be installed to reflect sunlight to the inner region of the habitat, or an artificial light source would be installed in the center which will be energized by the combination of solar panels placed on the outer rim and solar power satellites.
How Bishop Ring Rotating Space Habitat Will be Actualized in the Future
Forrest Bishop, the brain behind this megastructure wants it to be built with carbon nanotubes. Hence, if we must see a future of actualizing this sophisticated project, we must see the progress the world has made in using carbon nanotubes to build structures. In 1991, Sumio Iijima, a Japanese physicist, and inventor invented carbon nanotubes using the electron microscope. Iijima’s invention captures the attention of the international community as it is about to change the way we build structures both on earth and in space.
But are we closer to implementing this futuristic technology? Obayashi Corporation, a Japanese construction company has already announced its plan to build a space station about 36,000 kilometers above the earth and a space elevator using carbon nanotubes in 2050. The company intends to send tourists to this futuristic space station using an elevator car that will travel through the carbon nanotube pulley. The implementation of this futuristic project will determine how close we will move to build the Bishop Ring in the future.
But unlike the space elevator, the Bishop Ring will take a longer time to actualize if engineers designed it following Forrest Bishop’s proposal. However, future civilizations may decide not to build the space habitat to be so huge and massive. Instead, they will opt to make a smaller version of it using available technology in a few centuries to come. But one thing is certain if we have Voyager space hotel in full operation in space, Obayashi Corporation’s space station, and other futuristic stations in space before 2050, we may build the bishop ring before the end of the 22nd century.
The future of building megastructures in space is already looking promising with our plans for the future. If we can send humans to the moon, sustain astronauts aboard space stations and planning to send humans to Mars using our available technology, future civilization will surely bring the Bishop Ring into a reality. What do you think about this futuristic megastructure?