m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...

BDO of the Day: Rungworld

Today’s Big Dumb Object (BDO) is the Rungworld, a ring-shaped ladder whose rungs I’ve covered before: O'Neill colonies (paired rotating cylindrical habitats at least 20 miles long and 5 miles in diameter) or their larger cousins, McKendree cylinders, neither of which can be made much larger using known materials. Instead, we make them bigger and dumber by attaching more than two of them together in a ladder shape. The rungs rotate individually for gravity as usual, and the sides of the ladder serve to hold the individual cylinders in place. We can make a smallish ring (along the lines of a Banks Orbital) this way, or a huge sun-spanning circle like a Ringworld (except feasible).

The Rungworld has not appeared in fiction outside of Orion’s Arm (nor are they guaranteed to appear in the books linked above; I haven’t read them yet). Isaac Arthur also discusses Rungworlds in several of his videos. He suggests using the sides of the ladder for transportation between the individual rungs.