The Ares by Kim Stanley Robinson: a Sustainable Spaceship
Nothing is as good for your spatial understanding as building a 3d model of a spaceship. This is a reconstruction of the Ares from Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars, based on the descriptions by Robinson and on the original cover illustration by Don Dixon (which contradict each other at some points).
The Ares was an early example of sustainable shipbuilding: Robinson, who wrote the book in the early nineties, imagined the Ares being composed of recycled space shuttle tanks. American tanks, recognizable from their brown foam insulation, in the outer ring, and Russian tanks for the central axis. The Ares left for the Red Planet in 2026 and although that is still twelve years in the future, we may fear that Robinson was too optimistic about the development of industrial capacity in space.
UPDATE: Red Mars – The Movie