Monday, June 14, 2021

Starman waiting to board a Starship flight

Picture of the Day 14/06/2021 - Starman waiting to board a SpaceX's Starship flight by Swedish space designer Erik Corshammar (Erc X). More of his art here.

Starman waiting to board a SpaceX Starship flight by Erik Corshammar

Friday, May 28, 2021

Martian city wall by Jon Hrubesch

Gigantic wall of a futuristic city on partly terraformed Mars by American digital painter Jon Hrubesch. More of his sci-fi art here.

Martian city wall by Jon Hrubesch
Closeup of the rooftop gardens. Mars is terraformed to the level where water can be in liquid state and trees can grow in open atmosphere.
Rooftop gardens in a Martian city by Jon Hrubesch

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Village on partly terraformed Mars by Nuno Fontarra

Eventually Mars won't be only domed cities and underground bunkers. It will be a live planet with towns and villages.

Picture of the Day 23/05/2021 - a view of what could be a village on a partly terraformed Mars by Portuguese architect Nuno Fontarra.

Village on partly terraformed Mars by Nuno Fontarra

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Lunar scenes in season 2 of "For All Mankind" alternate history TV series

Season 2 really kicked up the space race on Lunar surface in For All Mankind alternate history sci-fi TV series exploring the idea of never ending space race if Soviets would have beaten US in the race for the Moon. In season 1, depicting the events in alternate 1969 to 1974, both Soviets and US start building their separate bases at the rim of Shackleton Crater near the lunar South pole. In season 2, depicting the alternate 1983, both bases have been expanded and the superpowers compete for resources on the Lunar surface. The Cold War is very close to becoming a hot one.

The intention of the show is to jump about a decade further into the increasingly diverging reality of the show each season. The final scene of season 2 hints Mars will be the central stage in season 3. We are eagerly waiting to see how the authors of the show will have imagined humanity's journey to Mars in their alternate reality. The filming of season 3 has already started.
Jamestown US Moon base in 1983:
Jamestown US Moon base in season 2 of 'For All Mankind'

Jamestown US Moon base in season 2 of 'For All Mankind'

Jamestown US Moon base in season 2 of 'For All Mankind'
US mining site at Jamestown base:
Jamestown US Moon base mining site in season 2 of 'For All Mankind'
Overview of the Jamestown base:
Overview of Jamestown US Moon base in season 2 of 'For All Mankind'
One of Jamestown's landing pads:
Jamestown US Moon base landing pad in season 2 of 'For All Mankind'

Thursday, May 6, 2021

A pair of SpaceX cargo Starships on Mars by Bart Caldwell

Picture of the Day 06/05/2021 - a pair of SpaceX's cargo Starships on Mars by American space artist Bart Caldwell, known as Neopork.

A pair of SpaceX cargo Starships on Mars by Bart Caldwell (Neopork)

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

SpaceX successfully lands Starship SN15 test vehicle!

Today SpaceX for the first time successfully landed a Starship test vehicle - Starship SN15. In four previous attempts since December 2020 Starship test vehicles successfully performed launch and "skydiver" belly flop maneuver but exploded during the landing attempt (in case of SN8, SN9 and SN11) or soon after (SN10). Here is full footage of today's flight from SpaceX's official livestream.

Starship is the second (spacecraft) stage of the fully reusable two-stage super heavy-lift launch vehicle currently developed by leading NewSpace company SpaceX. The main purpose of building such a large rocket with more than double the power of Saturn V is to enable the colonization of Mars. But Starship will be capable to do a lot of different tasks – to place satellites or space stations in orbit, ferry passengers to space stations or the Moon and even ferry passengers or cargo between any destinations on Earth within an hour.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Elon Musk arrives to Mars Base Alpha

Who will guess the year? SpaceX's CEO and chief designer Elon Musk finally arrives to the spaceport of Mars Base Alpha by American comics artist Eli Burton, creator of The Adventures of Starman.

Elon Musk arrives to Mars Base Alpha by RealLifeStarman

Thursday, April 29, 2021

SpaceX Starship interior concept for 20 to 40 passengers by Paul King

British interior architect / designer Paul King has created his detailed concept of SpaceX's Starship interior layout for 20 (one shift) to 40 (two shifts sharing the same crew pods) passengers. Concept divides the pressurized living space into six 2.5m high levels (here shown from top to bottom).

SpaceX Starship interior concept by Paul King
Level 6 - Flight deck
SpaceX Starship interior concept by Paul King - Level 6 - Flight deck
Level 5 - Crew mess hall
SpaceX Starship interior concept by Paul King - Level 5 - Crew mess hall

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

SpaceX Mars Base Alpha in 4K UHD quality

When Elon Musk gave his 2nd annual presentation of the Starship architecture (then called BFR or Big Falcon Rocket) in September 2017, the presentation contained an animation of Mars Base Alpha buildup. Granted, the representation looks more like Sim City on Mars with generic buildings in octagonal pattern, but it's the best visual overview of Mars Base Alpha buildup SpaceX has officially provided yet. Here are images from that animation in 4K UHD quality we haven't seen been posted anywhere else.
Closeup of Mars Base Alpha:
SpaceX's Mars Base Alpha
Buildup of Mars Base Alpha
1st stage - initial base:
SpaceX's Mars Base Alpha - 1st stage - initial base
Click HERE for 4K UHD resolution
2nd stage - mid-sized base:
SpaceX's Mars Base Alpha - 2nd stage - mid-sized base
Click HERE for 4K UHD resolution

Friday, April 16, 2021

NASA selects SpaceX Lunar Starship to return humans to the Moon

Today NASA announced it has selected SpaceX "to continue development of the first commercial human lander that will safely carry the next two American astronauts to the lunar surface" as part of the Artemis program. A year ago it was announced three contenders were selected to compete for this mission - SpaceX, Blue Origin's led "National Team" and Dynetics - and SpaceX revealed it is working for a lunar optimized Starship. Now we know SpaceX's proposal has won the race. In a milestone-based fixed-price contract SpaceX will be able to receive $2.89 billion to develop the Lunar Starship. The year when SpaceX needs to land humans back to the Moon is not specified yet.

In addition to today's announcement, NASA shared latest official render of SpaceX's Lunar Starship which slightly differs from last year's version:
SpaceX Lunar Starship selected by NASA for Artemis program (v.2021)

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Brutalist architecture in Martian science fiction

Brutalism is an architectural style that emerged in the 1950s and grew out of the early-20th century modernist movement. Brutalist buildings are characterized by their massive, monolithic and "blocky" appearance with a rigid geometric style, large-scale use of poured concrete and a predominantly monochrome color palette. The style was popular in 1960s and 1970s in the West and well into 1980s in communist countries and Latin America.

As Brutalism started with an ethos of social utopianism but ended with associations of being cold, inhuman and totalitarian, no wonder it is the most dominant architectural style in dystopian fiction. But it is present also in general science fiction when envisioning a city in future.

One of the flaws of most Brutalist buildings is associated with weather effects on raw concrete, especially in wet and cold climate. Thus, despite being massive and seemingly long-lasting, most of Brutalist buildings are in poor condition today. But it's not a concern on Mars with its dry climate preserving rocks for billions of years. That is one of the reasons movies, TV series, games and art portraying human colonies and bases on Mars is filled with buildings in Brutalist style. Although the truest reason could be that Brutalist architecture with its simple shapes and monochrome colors can be easily reproduced in art, computer graphics and film sets :)

Here are some examples of Brutalist architecture in movies, TV series, video games and art set on Mars:

In movies and TV series

One of the most famous Martian movies - Total Recall (1990) - has some of the purest examples of Brutalist architecture, although most of them in scenes on Earth (filmed in Mexico City):
Brutalist architecture in Total Recall (1990) - Arnold Schwarzenegger

Brutalist architecture in Total Recall (1990)

Brutalist architecture in Total Recall (1990)

Brutalist architecture in Total Recall (1990)

Monday, April 12, 2021

Mars base by Mark Garlick

Picture of the Day 12/04/2021 - an early human base on Mars by British illustrator Mark Garlick. More of his art here. Note the Spirit/Opportunity rover in the field.

Mars base by Mark Garlick

Monday, April 5, 2021

First humans on Mars

Young Irish 3D artist Matthew Ryan has created a stunning animation of a SpaceX's Starship getting people from Earth to Mars for the first time ever. Here is the final scene with a group of Starmen disembarking from Starship on Mars:

First humans on Mars: Starmen disembarking from SpaceX Starship on Mars by Matthew Ryan
Full animation here:

Thursday, April 1, 2021

SpaceX Starship interior concept for 100 passengers by Joseph Lantz

Joseph Lantz has created his concept for the interior layout of SpaceX's 100-passenger Starship (the passenger capacity goal stated by Elon Musk). Therefore this concept isn't meant for the first crew Starships on Mars used as temporary habitats for the first few years (those first Starships will have much smaler crew). The concept divides the pressurized living space into 8 decks (here shown from top to bottom) and follows a common design choice of a central stairway through all the decks.

All Decks of SpaceX 100-passenger Starship interior concept by Joseph Lantz
Deck 8 - Observation
Deck 8 (Observation) of SpaceX 100-passenger Starship interior concept by Joseph Lantz

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Astronaut relaxing near a SpaceX Starship spaceport

Picture of the Day 30/03/2021 - Astronaut leaning against his Mars rover derived from a retro car near a SpaceX Starship spaceport by American video game concept artist Darren Bacon in collaboration with parody account Bored Elon.

Astronaut relaxing near a SpaceX Starship spaceport by Darren Bacon and Bored Elon

Monday, March 29, 2021

Jamestown US Moon base in season 1 of "For All Mankind" TV series

For All Mankind is alternate history sci-fi TV series depicting what could have happened if the space race had never ended after the Soviet Union succeeds in the first crewed Moon landing ahead of the United States in 1969. The authors of the show speculate such an event would force US to double down on space exploration altering the Apollo program from "flags and footprints" approach to a more ambitious one with extensive infrastructure buildup on the Moon (with hints of Mars exploration in later seasons of the show). Pouring money and resources into space exploration creates an atmosphere every space nerd would have wanted to continue after the enthusiastic 1960s.

Season 1 of the series (aired in 2019) depicts events from 1969 to 1974 in the alternate timeline of For All Mankind. The series are in the middle of season 2 now depicting the alternate 1983. It was said each season of the show will jump about a decade further into the increasingly diverging reality of the show. We will feature season 2 here after it will be aired completely. So here is a collection of HD images from season 1 with a focus on US Jamestown lunar base at the rim of Shackleton Crater near the lunar South pole where water ice is discovered in 1970 (several decades earlier than in reality):

Jamestown US Moon base in season 1 of 'For All Mankind'
Landing of the initial Jamestown lunar base module in October 1973:
Jamestown US Moon base landing in season 1 of 'For All Mankind'

Jamestown US Moon base landing in season 1 of 'For All Mankind'
Jamestown Phase 1 US lunar base in 1974:
Jamestown US Moon base in season 1 of 'For All Mankind'

Jamestown US Moon base in season 1 of 'For All Mankind'

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Martian colonies in season 5 of The Expanse

Mars is one of the three competing powers in universe of The Expanse TV series - a political sci-fi drama set a few centuries in the future where humans have colonized the entire Solar system. Mars, governed by Martian Congressional Republic, is a militaristic and technologically advanced society of over nine billion inhabitants. Martian society had been highly mobilized towards the shared goal of terraforming Mars for over a century but in season 4 that shared goal and order of the Martian society was starting to erode as the new habitable planets beyond the rings were discovered and people realized they could build a new home there without the costly need of terraformation. That erosion continues in season 5.

In Martian scenes of season 5 the show focuses on depicting Asteria Naval Base (or Asteria NB) which is a military base and war college of the Martian Congressional Republic Navy (MCRN). Here is a collection with HD images from the Martian scenes in season 5 of The Expanse (open link in new tab to view in full resolution).

Exterior and interior of the Asteria Naval Base:
Mars colony (Asteria Naval Base) in Season 5 of The Expanse

Mars colony interior (Asteria Naval Base) in Season 5 of The Expanse
Martian mass transit network crosses canyons on cables and runs deep under ground:
Cable car on Mars in Season 5 of The Expanse

Mars colony metro in Season 5 of The Expanse

Saturday, March 13, 2021

小小小袪-2061 - a retrofuturistic vision of Soviet Union on Mars

Project "小小小袪-2061" is a community of Russian artists and writers envisioning Soviet Union in 2061 in an alternate reality. In 2011 they held their 1st arts contest asking participants to envision Soviet Union on Mars 50 years into the future. Here are some of the artworks from the contest.
Soviet spaceport in Valles Marineris on Mars by Igor Savin:
Soviet spaceport on Mars by Igor Savin for CCCP-2061 contest

Soviet spaceport on Mars by Igor Savin for CCCP-2061 contest
Domed soviet colony on Mars by Grinya Lesnoy:
Domed soviet colony on Mars by Grinya Lesnoy for CCCP-2061 contest

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Sunday, March 7, 2021

SpaceX 100+ Starship fleet arriving to Mars

Video animation with SpaceX's colonial fleet of 100+ Starships arriving to Mars by Austrian 3D environment artist Roger Bootsma. More of his art here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Updated design of #dearMoon Starship (2021)

On March 3 dearMoon Project opened application process for 8 crew member spots on SpaceX's first crewed deep space mission - #dearMoon Starship flight around the Moon scheduled for 2023. Applications are open for everyone now, not just the artists as originally was planned. The applications page contains some official renders of Starship's updated design with the most visible differences being in main window design:

Updated design (2021) of SpaceX's dearMoon Starship - orbiting the Moon

Updated design (2021) of SpaceX's dearMoon Starship - launch

Updated design (2021) of SpaceX's dearMoon Starship - orbiting Earth

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

SpaceX has downselected 7 potential Mars landing sites for Starship

On September 2019 it was revealed SpaceX has selected several Starship candidate landing sites on Mars. The candidate sites were located in Southern Arcadia Planitia East of Erebus Montes and one in Phlegra Montes.

Since then SpaceX has conducted several workshops with the Mars science community to evaluate and narrow the list of candidate landing sites. All the sites must fit several criteria:
  1. close to significant deposits of water/ice, a required resource for in situ propellant production and a consumable to support habitation;
  2. elevation below -2 km (with respect to the MOLA geoid) that can support the delivery of large payloads, with -3 km preferred;
  3. latitude must be <40° for solar power and thermal management, and closer to the equator is desirable;
  4. multiple separate landing locations spaced within a few km of each other, to support the multiple missions needed to grow an outpost;
  5. slopes should be <5° over a 10 m length scale and the chance of impacting a rock greater than 0.5 m high (1 m diameter) should be <5%;
  6. landing site must be radar reflective to enable measurement of the distance to the surface, and it must be load bearing to support the spacecraft at touchdown.

Recently an abstract with the conclusions has been published (the results of the study will be presented in two weeks, at the 52nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference), pointing out 4 prime and 3 secondary potential Starship landing sites selected for further study and located in Phlegra Montes, Erebus Montes and Southern Arcadia Planitia:
  • PM-1 has the lowest latitude and elevation of the Phlegra Montes sites, a clear association with LDAs (local ice deposits expressed as lobate debris aprons), well developed polygons (one of the indicators of ice-related morphologies), and has the highest SWIM (Subsurface Water Ice Mapping) score for geomorphic indicators of ice;
  • AP-1 (Arcadia Planitia) appears to be one of the safest sites and has a moderate combined SWIM score for ice;
  • AP-9 has the thickest ice from radar returns (of the Arcadia Planitia sites) and geomorphology indicating shallow ice. It has the highest combined SWIM score for ice, but appears slightly rocky and rough;
  • EM-16 has a clear association with an LDA with nearby brain terrain and the strongest radar return for shallow ice and the highest combined SWIM score of the Erebus Montes sites;
  • AP-8 (Arcadia Planitia) appears to be one of the safest sites and has the highest neutron and combined SWIM scores for ice;
  • EM-15 (Erebus Montes) is associated with a prominent but less extensive LDA, has well developed polygons, nearby brain terrain and appears smooth;
  • PM-7 is adjacent to lineated valley fill (attributed to glacial flow) and appears to be the safest of the Phlegra sites.

We highlighted selected ★ prime and ★ secondary sites on the map:
7 potential sites for SpaceX Starship Mars landing
Mars heightmap (180° in center)