May 9, 2009
$500 billion space station colony design wins NASA contest
A spinning, cylindrical-shaped structure with the ability to hold 10,000 residents was named the winner of an annual NASA competition which was the brainwork of a Toronto high school student. Eric Yam, a 12th grade student in Toronto’s Northern Secondary School took the grand prize making him the first Canadian to win such an award. The space colony Asten, named after the Egyptian god of balance is 1.6 kilometer-high structure made up of a series of habitation rings stuck in the shape of a cylinder. The entire structure rotates on its axis, simulating Earth-like gravity for its inhabitants. Yam’s plan calls for 15 years of planning followed by 12 years of construction and another three years to make the settlement habitable. His estimated cost to build the station is $563 billion US.
The project even shows how the society on the station would work and borrows heavily from Canadian policies, including adoption of a tax regime based on the Canadian income tax system and deciding who lives on the station based a point system modeled on Canada’s immigration policy. The contest is co-sponsored by the NASA Ames Research Center and the U.S.-based National Space Society and is for students from ages 11 to 18 from around the world, with two age categories for the contest.