Cole, Dandridge MacFarland (1921–1965)

Dandridge Cole

Dandridge Cole was an American aerospace engineer and futurologist who proposed a number of innovative schemes for space travel and colonization. Cole started out to be a medical student before becoming an engineer with General Electric's Missile and Space Division and a teacher. In 1963, in a book coauthored with I. M. Levitt, Dandridge Cole suggested hollowing out an ellipsoidal asteroid about 30 km long, rotating it about the major axis to simulate gravity, reflecting sunlight inside with mirrors, and creating on the inner shell a pastoral setting as a permanent habitat for a colony.1 A year later, in a book coauthored with Donald Cox,2 he suggested that such an asteroid could be used as an interstellar ark or generation ship to ferry a large human community to the stars. The "nomadic pseudo-earth," as Cole and Cox called their conception, would be hollowed out by "fusing and sculpting" the space inside a captured asteroid using "heat from solar mirrors." The result would be a "gigantic geodesic interior chamber," created "in much the same way as a glassblower shapes a small solid lump of molten glass into a large empty bottle."


In 1965, Cole coauthored Beyond Tomorrow: The Next 50 Years in Space (1965),3 in which he proposed various other space projects and the use of cryogenics so that individuals could travel great distances while in a state of suspended animation. He also argued in the 1960s that huge space colonies might evolve into new organisms called "Macro-Life" composed of innumerable living creatures.



1. Levitt, I. M., and Cole, Dandridge M. Exploring the Secrets of Space: Astronautics for the Layman. Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice Hall, Inc., 1963, pp. 277-278.
2. Cole, Dandrige M., and Cox, Donald, W. Islands in Space: The Challenge of the Planetoids. Philadelphia, Chilton Books, 1964.
3. Cole, Dandrige M., and Scarfo, Roy G. Beyond Tomorrow: The Next 50 Years in Space. Amherst, Wis., Amherst Press, 1965.