space stations stories

 
The ISS is pretty cool and all, and it's got a sweet view of Earth, but you know what? We live on Earth. Let's do some exploring! The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that NASA may have its eye on a more exotic location for the successor to the ISS: out beyond the orbit of the Moon, serving as a gateway to Mars and beyond.
 
An exact date has bounced around for the last couple of weeks, and NASA is finally giving SpaceX the go for a rendezvous between the company's Dragon capsule and the International Space Station. It's a landmark launch for SpaceX, and one that's poised to make history for the next generation of manned spacefaring efforts.
 
While the International Space Station provides a testing stage for orbital experiments, it's not the best launching point for, say, a manned deep space mission. Since that's exactly what NASA's looking to do in the near future, the agency is considering building another space station, one "parked" in an area where the Earth and moon's gravitation fields nearly cancel one another out.
 
From early designs, it seems people sure wanted to live in wheel- and ring-shaped space habitats. While that hasn't quite come to be yet — Mir, Skylab, the International Space Station and China's forthcoming Tiangong space station are all capsule-based — it's still interesting to see what space habitation looked like when engineers and artists only had their imaginations, hopes and dreams to guide them.

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