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A comparison of sizes of starships from various sci-fi franchises.

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You’d be forgiven for thinking the pictured man might be an actor auditioning for the role of a Vulcan on “Star Trek”. The gentleman in question was Gerard O'Neill, an American physicist responsible for numerous contributions to science including the particle storage ring and the concept of the mass driver.

O'Neill’s relevance to Old School Sci Fi is the idea for which he is probably best known: the concept of constructing gigantic rotating space habitats that have become known as O'Neill Cylinders. O'Neill Cylinders are typically depicted as being larger than most science fiction space stations and frequently have entire ecosystems. O'Neill detailed his vision for space colonization in his book “The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space”.

There are numerous examples in science fiction of O'Neill Cylinders. Perhaps the most famous is the eponymous space station in the sci fi TV series “Babylon 5”.

Confession:  There’s a scene in the Babylon 5 spinoff, Crusade, where the ship’s captain and doctor both end up watching some of another character’s interspecies porn that he’d accidentally included along with his report. The doctor remarks that at least two of the species aren’t anatomically compatible, followed by both characters tilting their heads at the unseen screen and, apparently learning something new. Every time that the devs tease that we’ll “find out” if angara like Jaal are compatible with humans, I think of this scene.

mod note: image provided by confessor.