Life on a Space Settlement
The thing to remember is that a well-designed space settlement is a whole town, even a city, but to its inhabitants it will be a world.
When you think of a space settlement, there's no use in thinking of Skylab.That would be like thinking of Columbus's Santa Maria when you should be thinking of Queen Elizabeth II.
There are objectives to be gained in nearby space. There is the collection of solar energy by power stations in orbit about the earth, advanced satellites of all kinds, astronomical observatories, laboratories, automated and computerized factories—all in orbit about the earth. There will be mining stations on the moon that will supply the metals, concrete, glass, and soil needed for all these structures.
Very little of all this, however, can be accomplished by human beings based on Earth.The work will be too difficult and expensive if those performing it must commute from Earth's surface.The reason why space settlements will be built will be to serve as bases for the miners, the engineers, the construction workers, the scientists, and for their families as well.
To house them we will have structures half a mile or more across, in the shape of cylinders or spheres or doughnuts. The people will live in the interiors.
The prototypes of such settlements will be built with resources from Earth; but, once we have a start, the space settlers themselves will build more space settlements out of moon material.There will then be a rapid expansion as hundreds of space settlements, including quite large ones, are built.
Constructed of metal and glass, the space settlements will be coated with soil on the inside, thick enough to protect against cosmic-ray particles.