With the success of the Mars rover, SpaceX’s private spaceflight, and asteroid mining startups, space ventures are hot once again. While we’re obviously looking ahead, perhaps we should also look to the past for inspiration.

In the 1970s, NASA Ames Research Center, Stanford University, and Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill hosted several space colony summer studies. During these studies, NASA commissioned some mind-blowing art featuring space colonies that could house about 10,000 people.

In these renderings, we can see fantastic ideas of how space colonies could theoretically be constructed. While we’ll almost certainly never see anything like these colonies in our lifetimes, it’s fun to imagine. Artists including Don Davis and Chesley Bonestell contributed to this collection and to O’Neill’s 1976 book The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space.

Check out the stellar artwork below:

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Photos via NASA


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