Over the past week, I’ve been playing around with a first space ship design for Somnium, a small frontier cargo/passenger transport. This is what I have so far:
I am sort-of happy with the design; I just wish I had better drawing skill – or better yet, knew how to use Blender so I could take this to 3D modelling.
The black boxes in the design are TEU, twenty-foot equivalent units – or in other words, the standard, ubiquitous shipping containers we all know and love. It can carry 44 of those, plus a number of passengers (probably around 20).
This is really small by ocean-shipping lines, but I always wanted the economy of the Somnium interstellar trade to be more in line with aviation than with maritime trade.
The ship is about as long as an A380 and about twice as wide as the A380 fuselage. It can carry about 1000 metric tons of cargo or about 1700 cubic meters – probably a bit more, this is based on simple multiplication for the shipping containers.
For comparison; while there is no cargo variant of the A380, a 747-400F has a maximum payload of 112 metric tons. A 747-8F has a payload of 140 metric tons.
Worlds do not always have to be plain old balls of dirt speeding through space, it’s also possible to have artificial constructs as your worlds. One such design was created by Arthur C. Clarke for his book Rendezvous with Rama. Rama is a space ship in the shape of a hollow cylinder; such designs have been created by NASA as hypothetical future space stations.
Anyway, the Rama spaceship is quite large, and a Frenchman, Eric Bruneton, sought a way to render this huge scenery. He developed methods for this that are quite interesting, and you can visit his website about Rendering Rama to see the resulting art and read a very interesting article on how he accomplished the feat.
As you can see, he succeeded beautifully.
I must say that I always pictured Rama’s interior as more artificial-looking, but that could have been my misreading of the story. Of course Eric’s rendering is more a demonstration of technology rather than a faithful rendering. Either way, I thought that this was a great little gem that people interested in world building or constructed worlds might be interested in.
Update, 2020-01-01: Linked a more current YouTube video.