Space Settlement Design
Lesson created by: Bryan Yager, 1998
This web based lesson plan allows students to work individually
or in teams in designing an Orbital Space Settlement. When
completed the design and written work will be presented to the
class and submitted to the NASA-Ames sponsored
- What is a Space Settlement?
- What are some challenges in designing a Space Settlement?
- What is needed for humans to live on a Space Settlement?
Anywhere from 2-5 weeks, based on five 45 minute class
- A computer/monitor overhead projection system for group
- Computers with internet access. (one computer per team)
- White boards and dry erase pens for brainstorming designs.
- Poster Boards/colored pens and pencils
- 3-D modeling program for CAD work.
- Wood, plastic, or styrafoam for design models
Use an overhead projection system for group instruction to visit
the following sites: Be sure to bookmark these sites for the
- Orbital Space Settlement Site site at:
http://lifesci3.arc.nasa.gov/spacesettlement/. This site will
provide necessary information for the students to get started.
- Space Colony Art from the
will provide students with a series of artistic renderings that
will assist them.
Settlement FAQ at:
http://members.aol.com/oscarcombs/spacsetl.htm. This site will
answer many questions on space settlements.
Ames/Stanford 1975 Summer Study at:
- Needs Menu at:
This provides information on what is needed to live in a space
- Space colony designer's corner for
http://lifesci3.arc.nasa.gov/spacesettlement/designer/. This site
will enable the students to compare design considerations and
provide relevant statistics on the design of their choice.
- Divide students into teams of up to 5. They will be assigned
different responsibilites by their elected project manager. A team
member may be responsible for a poster, research, CAD rendering,
writing or editing. Have each team brainstorm design ideas using
white boards and dry erase pens. They will also determine the name
of the settlement and a logo (optional).
- Each team will decide on the 7-10 topics that will be covered
in their written report.
- See Suggested Areas for relevant
topics that might be covered at
- Once the teams have begun their research, have the project
manager report to the instructor each day on progress or any
- If necessary assist the project manager in delegating
responsibilities so each student is responsible for an equitable
amount of research and written work. Consult the
Space Colony Jigsaw for a guidleine at
- Each team will have the opportunity to build a model of their
design using styrafoam, dowels, wood, plastic or any other material
available. In addition each team will submit a poster of their
design. They may want to offer views of the interior or a cutaway
view of a particular module of the settlement. This can take some
time so be prepared. Examples of 7th and 8th grade student models
may be found at:
Student Space Colony Models
- Have the students view the Utopian Mars City
Alpaha Project. This planetary based settlement is a good
example of a total design with a model.
When complete, each team will have a written report, CAD
rendering, and a model to present to the class. If time permits
have the students present their work to the class using the
overhead projection system.
You may also use a Quiz as an
evaluation tool to check for understanding.
Background for Teachers
Space Settlement Home Page
Yager Belmont School District, January 29, 2003
This site was hosted by the NASA Ames Research Center from 1994-2018 and is now hosted by: