Thursday, November 30, 2023

Tesla Cybertruck - a pickup truck made for Mars

4 years after the initial unveiling, today is the day when the long-anticipated Tesla Cybertrucks will be delivered to the first customers. Cybertruck is an electric pickup truck with a radically different design and features that no other automaker has ever attempted. Tesla's stainless steel pickup truck doesn't even look like it's made for Earth. Indeed, on several occasions, Elon Musk has stated that a "pressurized edition" of Cybertruck will be the "official truck of Mars".

Tesla Cybertruck on Mars by Andres Gonzalez
Illustration of Tesla Cybertruck on Mars by Canadian graphic designer Andres Gonzalez

Of course, the Cybertruck will need to be heavily modified to be useful in Martian conditions (the pressure difference is just one of the problems that will need to be solved), but we can easily imagine a truck with Cybertruck's design features driving around on Mars in not so distant future. We can even imagine a Tesla factory producing those Martian Cybertrucks on Mars itself as early as the 2050s.

Cybertruck Delivery Event will be livestreamed on Tesla's website at 2:00 pm CT.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Spaceport on Mars - Part 3 of Martian sketches by Andrey Maximov

Environment concept artist Andrey Maximov from Armenia has created an impressive set of artworks called Martian sketches depicting a "routine" journey to Mars in 2089. So far he has published 25 pages of those sketches. As the artist describes them: "this series is kind of like the road sketches of a member of an expedition to Mars. It's a routine flight in the not-too-distant future. The planet is more or less inhabited. We have an orbital station around Mars. There are already several settlements on the surface, mining is going on."

1st part (10 sketches) of Andrey's Martian sketches depicted the expedition leaving Earth;
2nd part (5 sketches) depicted expedition's arrival to International Mars Orbital Station

Here is 3rd part (6 sketches) depicting spaceport "Anteros" on Mars:

Page 16 of Martian sketches by Andrey Maximov - Spaceport Anteros. Top view

Page 17 of Martian sketches by Andrey Maximov - Spaceport Anteros. Landing site

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

SpaceX Starship orbital flight test 2 - infographic by Tony Bela (updated)

Australian space illustrator Tony Bela has created an infographic of the upcoming 2nd integrated flight test of SpaceX's Starship rocket (booster B09, ship S25) on Saturday, November 18 Friday, November 17 (a 20 minute launch window opens at 7:00 a.m. CT pending final regulatory approval) from Starbase, Boca Chica, Texas.

SpaceX Starship orbital flight test 2 - infographic by Tony Bela

SpaceX: "Starship’s first flight test [on April 20] provided numerous lessons learned that directly contributed to several upgrades to both the vehicle and ground infrastructure to improve the probability of success on future flights. The second flight test will debut a hot-stage separation system and a new electronic Thrust Vector Control (TVC) system for Super Heavy Raptor engines, in addition to reinforcements to the pad foundation and a water-cooled steel flame deflector, among many other enhancements."
Breakdown of Tony's infographic into phases:
SpaceX Starship orbital flight test 2 - phase 1 - infographic by Tony Bela

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Building a new civilization on Mars in "For All Mankind" season 4

Yesterday Apple TV+ released yet another video revealing more details about the upcoming season 4 of For All Mankind alternate history sci-fi TV series. As the co-creator of the series Ben Nedivi states in this featurette: "This season is really about the building of a new civilization on Mars. Last year in season 3 you saw the first explorers arrive on Mars. This season you're actually seeing hundreds of people up there and you're seeing, how civilization becomes civilization".

Judging from the reviews by journalists who were given early access to the first 7 episodes of season 4, this season might be the show's most exciting season yet. We look forward to judging it for ourselves. Season 4 premieres November 10 on Apple TV+, with episodes releasing weekly.

Some of the details for season 4 were previously revealed in a teaser and a trailer.

For All Mankind is exploring the idea of never ending space race if Soviets would have beaten US in the race for the Moon and the intention of the show is each season to jump about a decade further into the increasingly diverging reality of the show: in season 1, depicting alternate 1969 to 1974, both Soviets and US start building their separate bases near the lunar South pole; in season 2 (1983) both bases have been expanded and the superpowers compete for resources on the Lunar surface; in season 3 (1992 to 1995), Soviets and US are joined by a private company Helios and North Korea for a four way race to establish the first human base on Mars.

Here are some HD images from the featurette above.
Happy Valley base on Mars:
Happy Valley Mars base in 'For All Mankind' season 4

Happy Valley Mars base interior in 'For All Mankind' season 4

Mars Lander in 'For All Mankind' season 4

Friday, November 3, 2023

Ceres, the capital of the Belt, in "The Expanse" TV series

Ceres, located in the Main Asteroid Belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, is the largest known asteroid (~940km in diameter) and the only dwarf planet in the Inner Solar system. In the universe of The Expanse TV series (a political sci-fi drama set in mid-24th century when humans have colonized the entire Solar system) Ceres acts as the de facto capital for the Belt - one of the three competing powers in The Expanse, along with the United Nations (based on Earth) and Mars.

Ceres naturally has a gravity of 0.029g (2,9% of the gravity force on Earth), but in the universe of The Expanse it has been artificially spun up to 0.3g of centrifugal force (so the "gravity" points in the opposite direction, not towards the center of the planet). There is a population of around 6 million in Ceres Station which consists of tens of thousands of kilometers of tunnels bored deep into Ceres. Ceres Station is the most important spaceport in the Belt, 800 to 1'000 ships are docked on Ceres every day, so along with the 6 million permanent residents there are an extra one million transiting through at any given time. Ceres Station was initially governed by the United Nations, but during season 1 of the show Outer Planets Alliance (OPA, a fractured sociopolitical movement trying to unite the Belt) takes control.

The life on Ceres is depicted in season 1 and season 6 of The Expanse. Here you can view some of the best shots from locations on Ceres Station (part of them downscaled from 4K UHD screens for better image quality) as well as some concept art for Ceres:

Ceres in 'The Expanse' TV series
Mid-town Ceres Station:
Mid-town Ceres Station in 'The Expanse' TV series
Ceres Station docks on the surface of Ceres:
Ceres Station docks on the surface of Ceres in 'The Expanse' TV series
Administrative Plaza of Ceres:
Administrative Plaza of Ceres in 'The Expanse' TV series
Concept art for The Medina level on Ceres by North Front Studio:
Concept art for The Medina level on Ceres by North Front Studio for 'The Expanse' TV series