So how does one get to know a space station on a distant, impoverished and forgotten asteroid? Senses and research.
Our character’s senses are what connects our story to our readers. A derelict old space station will smell oily and musty. Head out to your uncle (the car fanatic’s) beat up garage to get to know that one. The space station will creak as things clatter and break. A trip down to the metal recyclers or into an old metal building that shifts with the wind can give you good sounds. How does stale, over-breathed air taste? Think of your school or an office building. Run your hand over some rusty, dusty, greasy metal to get the walls and floors of your spaceport. The look of your space station can come from what you’ve seen in your travels, your research from looking at real and imagined space stations and your own sketches.
To make a place that readers from here and now can imagine, we must use things they can relate to. We must take things from this world and place them in our imagined place. This will allow our readers to understand and walk within our story. Right where we want them.