Simon is quite the dedicated professional. After our talk 2 weeks ago, he went to give an Aikido training seminar, met up with other sensei of the Aikido arts, and by now has received his 5th Dan in Aikido. This is an interesting side bit, and fascinating in itself.

I am a babblemouth and very distractive IRL, so he kept me out of the way when making the first stages of the construction of the habitat. So far Simon ordered some articles preparative which he showed me in this slideshow. I can’t wait to be around there again next week, and Simon has already ‘in spiritu’ waved gaffer tape at me in case I start yapping too much.

So for now I just bite my nails šŸ™‚

The model is intended to have a ventral axis that in the real structure would be the rotational axis (our model does not rotate šŸ™‚ ) and which would be in itself the full one meter long. The default design is very close to original O Neil habitat, but ‘weathered’ by decades of refitting, commercialism and upgrades. The main hub is in the middle of the length wise axis and is about as big as a basket ball. To the front and aft of this are the two hubs and radially around that (depicted about half in cutaway) will be mirrored sections of the solar reflection surfaces – the function of these mirror sections will be obvious – reradiating sunlight into the agricultural hatbox habitats, and into the ventral (axial) windows. It should be obvious the habitat is shelled like a turtle with at least ten meters thick radiation shielding (slag) at the main hub (and to some degree at the agricultural hatboxes) – but at the scale 10 meters is not very prominent. The entire structure would be 2 klicks long, which equates to a habitat hull of half a centimeter thick. However that also makes the rest of the structure comparatively emphemeral. I suggested using nylon threading to ‘suggest’ supportive cables (without making the model actually fragile – it’s just evoking a suggestion) but Simon indicated he might have better ideas. The final structures would be aft and fore (the axis always is aimed at the sun) and would comprize two ‘different looking’ industrial complexes. The look I would want would be a mix between ‘avatar venture star’, with a minor bit Nostromo (but far less stocky), a bit oil refinery rig and a bit ‘container storage’. Again, these containers would be at best what, 20 meter big cylindrical shapes, which is just centimeters. You can’t just ‘callously sneak in a coke bottle‘ at this level of detail.

All this requires some background explanation. Imagine me watching the movie Alien, out walking out in shock, somewhere in 1977. I was blown away. Simon said (hehe) I suffered from a stockholm syndrome after watching the movie. I was positively obsessed with the movie after 1978 and kept going on and on about it. I probably watched it hundreds of times, and every little detail of the movie experience ingrained in my mind. Imagine me mucking about between my dolls, building bits of spaceship, or claying little alien dolls over my barbies and watching my doll playmates look at me in puzzled bewilderment.

Whatever the case I collected every book, every detail, every story about the movie, and it has always been a remarklable source of inspiration. However, what is really fascinating is how much i was able to intuitively ‘sherlock holmes’ on how this production process of making a movie worked. Simon explained that they made up these ‘intuitive’ explanations on what various parts of the Nostromo would/should do.

Ofcourse Simon was a kid at the time, and the captain modellers at the original movie were Martin Bower and others, but Simon made this his core business in the decades ever since – and the guy is confident in what he does. I arrived at the store with a plan, and I didnt even get a chance – he was far ahead of me in every step. But we were mostly on the same page – I totally understand how he thinks and I like it a lot.

The deadline of early october latest has made me a bit less nervous – and for sure, I still am. He needs to yield a result that isn’t just ‘pretty nice’, it must be absolutely compelling to movie makers, documentary makers, space colonization buffs, scientists, journalists and especially our project sponsor. The model must be so good that somewhere next year someone would try stealing it from the Terasem offices next year (and get mowed down by the sentry guns) šŸ™‚ … In fact, what I want is this model being a compelling argument why non-fiction space industrialization makes sense.

[insert angry, impatient expletive how slow space exploration is going]

So yah, the one thing Simon so far has been exceptional at is convincing me it’ll be OK. Which, considering my otherworldy expectations, is a tough deal to do.