[Image: The "inflatable multilayered polymer hull" of this orbiting hotel room "will be around 30 centimetres thick and will contain layers of Kevlar – as used in bullet-proof vests – to provide some protection against micrometeorites and space debris" – as well as from rowdy hotel guests. Click on to enlarge; from New Scientist].
Might future space tourists need an inflatable space hotel? Of course – and "Las Vegas hotelier Robert Bigelow is aiming to supply it. Bigelow made his fortune as the owner of the Budget Suites of America hotel chain, and he is now launching a $500 million effort to expand his business off-planet."
The design for Bigelow's space hotel was taken from "TransHab, a never-used NASA design for an inflatable space station." (TransHab also appears in an old BLDGBLOG post on astrobiology).
The space hotel "will provide 330 cubic metres of living space for space tourists or industrial researchers" – or even maximum security prisoners...? Instead of a secret prison city, they build a secret prison satellite-archipelago... Forget the death penalty: you're sent alone into outer space.
Setting up the prison break film of the century.
They whiz you up there in a space elevator –
[Images: Check out the Space Elevator blog, the LiftPort website and image gallery ("dedicated to building a mass transportation system to open up access to the inner solar system"), and some other technical drawings here].
– but don't forget to pack your toothbrush.
If the your hotel room begins to wander, of course, a space tether could save you (a "100-kilometre-long 'fishing line' that spins freely in space may one day catch and fling satellites to higher orbits... using just solar power and the Earth's magnetic field"); and if the tether fails, you can always use Richard Gott's map of the universe to find your way home. ("Gott realised that... if he drew our galaxy to fit on the page, he'd need another 100 kilometres of paper to show the most distant quasar" – skip to bottom of link to see how he made the map work).
Or it serves as home for an exiled author, writing back from deep space.
(Meanwhile, a lost hotel room may have been found beyond Pluto; and with thanks to the excellent Interactive Architecture dot Org, as well as the always ahead of its time we make money not art).