NASA 1970s SPACE COLONIZATION, DRIVERLESS VEHICLES, PIONEER PROBES, OBLIQUE WING X-PLANE 68734
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This film is a collection of four short NASA films from the 1970s (Space Colonization, Autotram, Space Pioneers, and New Advances in Plane Design), giving viewers a look at various developments in space exploration and flight. In Space Colonization, NASA’s Chief of Life Sciences Experiment Office Dr. Richard Johnson speaks to the camera about a disc-shaped space colony named the Stanford torus. The film opens with images and animation showing future renderings of space colonies. Viewers see an animation of torus (01:20). Orbiting solar panels collect energy from the Sun. A model shows the detailed inside of torus (02:28), including an agricultural zone designed to feed up to 10,000 people. In the set’s second film, Autotram, viewers watch a driverless vehicle move throughout the campus of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA (04:53). Dr. Alan Johnston speaks to the camera about the Autotram’s design (05:35). Viewers see the sensors mounted on the front and underneath the vehicle, as well as an extended contact bumper and emergency stop buttons. Two people ride the Autotram at the campus. In Space Pioneers, a shot of Jupiter is shown as seen from the robotic space probes Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 (07:27). Dr. James Van Allen speaks to the camera about the Pioneer program. The film shows a graphic of Pioneer 11 as it flies past Saturn (08:21). The fourth and final film features a new plane design being tested at NASA’s research facility in the Mojave Desert (09:08). Men work on the scissor-like design of the oblique-wing plane prototype. A Cessna flies overhead and records the takeoff terrain. A man prepares to operate the oblique-wing plane remotely from inside a van. The prototype takes off from the desert runway (10:42). On-plane cameras record the aircraft’s flight. Research Scientist Rod Bailey shows the camera the plane’s design, explaining how the design has less transonic drag than traditional aircraft. The plane lands on the runway. Men use a small crane to lift the prototype onto a flatbed truck (12:16). Graphics show designs of futuristic planes using the oblique-wing technology, concluding the film.
The Stanford torus is a proposed NASA design for a space habitat capable of housing 10,000 to 140,000 permanent residents. The Stanford torus was proposed during the 1975 NASA Summer Study, conducted at Stanford University, with the purpose of exploring and speculating on designs for future space colonies (Gerard O’Neill later proposed his Island One or Bernal sphere as an alternative to the torus). “Stanford torus” refers only to this particular version of the design, as the concept of a ring-shaped rotating space station was previously proposed by Wernher von Braun and Herman Potočnik.
The Pioneer program was a series of United States unmanned space missions that were designed for planetary exploration. There were a number of such missions in the program, but the most notable were Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11, which explored the outer planets and left the Solar System. Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 carry a golden plaque, depicting a man and a woman and information about the origin and the creators of the probes, should any extraterrestrials find them someday.
An oblique wing (also called a slewed wing) is a variable geometry wing concept. On an aircraft so equipped, the wing is designed to rotate on center pivot, so that one tip is swept forward while the opposite tip is swept aft. By changing its sweep angle in this way, drag can be reduced at high speed (with the wing swept) without sacrificing low speed performance (with the wing perpendicular). This is a variation on the classic swing-wing design, intended to simplify construction and retain the center of gravity as the sweep angle is changed.
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