Showing posts with label NASA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NASA. Show all posts

Sunday, October 4, 2020

SpaceX Starship at NASA Artemis Base Camp by ICON

NASA has announced it is working with Texas-based 3D printed construction startup ICON "on early research and development of a space-based construction system that could support future exploration of the Moon and Mars. The company has 3D printed communities of homes and structures on Earth and participated in NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, demonstrating a construction method and technologies that may be adaptable for applications beyond our home planet." Both NASA and US Air Force have invested in company's technologies via Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract.

NASA is working, via its Artemis program, to establish a long-term human presence on and around the Moon by the end of the 2020s. Construction and expansion of Artemis Base Camp will require extensive use of lunar resources, including water ice (for life support and rocket fuel) and moon dirt (for building materials).

To accomplish goals of the SBIR contract ICON has teamed up with space design studio SEArch+ and Danish architecture firm BIG in Project Olympus to develop robotic construction concept for NASA's Artemis Base Camp. Here are several conceptual illustrations from the project.
First one depicts a spaceport featuring several 3D printed landing pads and roads, SpaceX's Starship in one of the pads and Blue Origin's Lunar lander with ICON's 3D printer landing in another:
SpaceX's Starship at NASA's Artemis Base Camp spaceport by ICON & SEArch+
Closeup of illustration's central part:
SpaceX's Starship at NASA's Artemis Base Camp spaceport by ICON & SEArch+ - closeup
Here are illustrations of 3D printed habitats:
Project Olympus concept by ICON & BIG for NASA's Artemis Base Camp - top view

Thursday, July 30, 2020

NASA Mars 2020 Perseverance rover launch

Today, July 30, at 7:50 AM (EDT) NASA will launch its next generation Mars 2020 Perseverance rover to Mars. The rover will land on Mars on February 18, 2021 in Jazero Crater (Western Isidis Planitia) to collect samples for later retrieval; the rover will be accompanied by a small reconnaissance drone-helicopter Ingenuity.
Here you can watch NASA's livestream of the launch:

The Perseverance is a twin rover of the Curiosity rover (working on Mars since 2012) with some upgrades:
NASA Mars 2020 Perseverance vs Curiosity - infographic
Overview of the Perseverance scientific instruments:
NASA Mars 2020 Perseverance rover - infographic

Monday, July 13, 2020

Cutaway diagram of SpaceX Lunar Starship

Unofficial cutaway diagram of SpaceX's Lunar Starship interior by Rocket Posters. The Lunar Starship is lunar optimized version (for NASA's Artemis program) of the fully reusable super heavy-lift spacecraft - Starship - currently developed by leading NewSpace company SpaceX.

SpaceX's Lunar Starship cutaway diagram by Rocket Posters

SpaceX's Lunar Starship cutaway diagram by Rocket Posters

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

NASA astronaut on Mars

Illustration of an astronaut on Mars, as viewed through the window of a spacecraft, by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's visual strategist Joby Harris. More of his art here.

Illustration of NASA's astronaut on Mars by Joby Harris

Monday, June 15, 2020

Thursday, April 30, 2020

NASA selects SpaceX's lunar optimized Starship for Artemis program

Today NASA announced that three US companies - SpaceX, Blue Origin & Dynetics - will develop the human landers that will land astronauts on the Moon beginning in 2024 as part of the Artemis program. And SpaceX shared some renders of the "lunar optimized Starship" which is developed "to transport crew between lunar orbit and the surface of the Moon". SpaceX added that "a lunar optimized Starship can fly many times between the surface of the Moon and lunar orbit without flaps or heat shielding required for Earth return. With large habitable and storage volume, Starship is capable of delivering significant amounts of cargo for research and to support robust operations on the lunar surface to enable a sustainable Moon base."

SpaceX lunar optimized Starship selected by NASA for Artemis program

SpaceX lunar optimized Starship landing on the Moon

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

NASA astronaut on Mars by James Vaughan

Two variants of a scene with NASA's astronaut on Mars by photographer and concept artist James Vaughan - one with a small human base in the background and the second in front of an exploration rover. More of Vaughan's aerospace and defense concept art here.

NASA astronaut on Mars by James Vaughan

NASA astronaut in front of rover on Mars by James Vaughan

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

HD quality official render of SpaceX cargo Starship unloading on the Moon

3 weeks ago SpaceX's Principal Mars Development Engineer Paul Wooster gave a presentation "SpaceX's Plans for Sending Humans to Mars" at 22nd Annual Mars Society Convention. In the presentation there was a new render of the redesigned SpaceX's cargo Starship unloading some NASA rovers on Lunar surface. Unfortunately no one was able to capture a decent quality image of the render then. Yesterday the render was posted on NASA's web page in high quality:

SpaceX cargo Starship unloading on the Moon

The post reveals that SpaceX is one of companies taking part in NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative which "allows rapid acquisition of lunar delivery services for payloads that advance capabilities for science, exploration, or commercial development of the Moon. Investigations and demonstrations launched on commercial Moon flights will help the agency study Earth’s nearest neighbor under the Artemis program. As its next step in exploration, NASA is preparing to send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024, establish sustainable lunar exploration by 2028, and plans to send astronauts to Mars in the mid-2030s."

Monday, September 9, 2019

Three phases of terraforming Mars by Björn Selin

Annotated images with three phases of exploring and terraforming Mars by Swedish game artist Björn Selin. The images were made with the guidance of planetary scientist Chris McKay from NASA's Ames Research Center.
Phase 1 - exploration - humans can explore the barren Red planet only within protective pressure suits / rovers / habitats:
Terraforming Mars Phase 1 (exploration) by Bjorn Selin
Phase 2 - planetary ecosynthesis - the air pressure and temperature has risen to the level where only warm clothing and oxygen mask is needed; simple organisms as lichens can be introduced:
Terraforming Mars Phase 2 (planetary ecosynthesis) by Bjorn Selin
Phase 3 - spreading life - humidity and temperature has risen to the level where only oxygen mask is needed; more complex organisms can be introduced:
Terraforming Mars Phase 3 (spreading life) by Bjorn Selin

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Candidate sites for SpaceX Starship Mars landings revealed

[on September 2 info & map updated with additional two possible landing sites]

Robert Zimmerman from has found several images labelled as "Candidate Landing Site for SpaceX Starship [..]" in the latest data release from University of Arizona's HiRISE camera (aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter). It means that with help from NASA SpaceX is already quietly evaluating the best place where to land first Starships on Mars. Here are direct links to HiRISE image of: Site 1, Site 2, Site 3, Site 4, Site 5 (in Arcadia Planitia) & Site 6 (in Phlegra Montes).

For several years it hasn't been a secret SpaceX is considering four Martian regions for landings: Deuteronilus Mensae, Phlegra Montes, Utopia Planitia and southern Arcadia Planitia. But even in 2017 southern Arcadia Planitia looked "more promising", according to Paul Wooster, Principal Mars Development Engineer at SpaceX. So by now SpaceX may very well be down to evaluating more precise landing sites in that region.

All the candidate landing sites (except #6 in Phlegra Montes) are located on the border between Amazonis Planitia and Arcadia Planitia. According to latest data, Arcadia Planitia is one of the few regions where abundant shallow ice is present at relatively low latitudes. There is strong evidence that this location holds buried ice glaciers. So it has two critical elements looked by SpaceX for its Mars Base Alpha: solar energy and water. Those are critical not only for life support but also for refueling Starships. It's also in low altitude meaning a bit higher air pressure than in higher areas on Mars; that is beneficial for radiation protection and creates more atmospheric drag during the landing.

We made a map of all of the candidate sites:
Potential sites for SpaceX Starship Mars landings
Mars heightmap & potential site 6 for SpaceX Starship Mars landing in Phlegra Montes

Sunday, August 25, 2019

SpaceX Starship visiting Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway by Colin Doublier

Picture of the Day 25/8/2019 - Sketch of SpaceX's Starship visiting NASA's future Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway by French urban artist Colin Doublier. More of his art here.

SpaceX Starship visiting Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway by Colin Doublier

Saturday, July 20, 2019

60 year challenge for humanity: 1969 - Moon, 2029 - Mars

Today 50 years ago first humans - 2 out of 3 Apollo 11 crew members Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin - landed on the Moon. But since then the advancement of human space exploration has been slow. It changed only in recent years with the rise of private space companies, especially SpaceX with its determined focus on rocket reusability and colonization of Mars. Now we have a real chance to land first humans on Mars as soon as 10 years from now, maybe even sooner.

60 year challenge for humanity: 1969 - Moon, 2029 - Mars

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Saturn V and SpaceX Starship at launch pad by Gravitation Innovation

Today 50 years ago the most powerful rocket ever built - Saturn V - launched first astronauts to set foot on the Moon. But right now the leading NewSpace company SpaceX is building even more powerful rocket for Mars - Starship & Super Heavy. SpaceX is hoping it to be operational in 2021.

Here is a poster by Gravitation Innovation with Saturn V and SpaceX Starship at launch pad. Note the Starship is at front so it appears a lot bigger than Saturn V at back. In reality the difference in height is minimal with Saturn V being 111 m high and Starship & Super Heavy at 118 m by current design which is subject to change.

Saturn V and SpaceX Starship at launch pad by Gravitation Innovation

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Mars Ice Home concept by NASA, SEArch+ & Clouds AO

Mars Ice Home is a feasibility study conducted at NASA Langley Research Center in 2016 in collaboration with human-centered space design studio SEArch+ and architects from CloudsAO. Responding to the problem of galactic cosmic radiation being the most significant issue for human health on long duration Mars surface missions, the concept incorporates in situ resource utilization derived water-ice for radiation shielding and as a structural component.

Water, a hydrogen-rich material, is an excellent shielding material for galactic cosmic rays – and many areas of Mars have abundant water ice just below the surface. The Ice Home concept balances the need to provide protection from radiation, without the drawbacks of an underground habitat. The design maximizes the thickness of ice above the crew quarters to reduce radiation exposure while also still allowing light to pass through ice and surrounding materials. The water-ice fills and freezes within cellular pockets of the precision-manufactured inflatable membrane. The interior of the habitat would be insulated from the ice with a cellular layer of carbon dioxide, which can easily be extracted from the Martian atmosphere.

Mars Ice Home exterior by NASA, SEArch+ & Clouds AO

Mars Ice Home greenhouse by NASA, SEArch+ & Clouds AO

Mars Ice Home by NASA, SEArch+ & Clouds AO

Sunday, June 30, 2019

3D-printed Mars habitat MARSHA by AI SpaceFactory

Architectural and technology design agency AI SpaceFactory is the team that won NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge for Mars. Their design "MARSHA" of an egg-shaped, dual shell habitat is a principal rethinking of what a Martian habitat could be - not another low-lying dome or confined, half-buried structure but a bright, multi-level, corridor-free home that stands upright on the surface of Mars.

Here are some impressive conceptual design images for the project:

3D-printed Mars base MARSHA in duststorm by AI SpaceFactory (NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge)

3D-printed Mars base MARSHA by AI SpaceFactory (NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge)

3D-printed Mars base MARSHA by AI SpaceFactory (NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge)

Sunday, April 28, 2019

1 million human colony city on Mars by Max Rymsha

On 2017 HP announced the "Mars Home Planet" rendering challenge inviting participants "to imagine, create and virtually experience a sophisticated civilization on Mars. A new home for one million humans." Swedish architect and CG artist Max Rymsha was one of the winners of the challenge creating his concept "Between The Red Mountains" for a sustainable city on Mars for 1 million humans. His inspiring vision includes several large-scale biodomes, SpaceX's Starships (in their 2016 design) for Earth-Mars transportation, hyperloop lines for intercity transportation, electric rovers and quadcopters for local transportation, laboratories of NASA, etc.; most of the city (not shown in the illustration) is underground for better radiation and asteroid protection.

1 million human colony city on Mars by Max Rymsha
Infographic version with annotations:
1 million human colony city on Mars by Max Rymsha - infographic

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

3D-printed Mars base by Hassell & EOC

Design studio Hassell and structural engineers Eckersley O’Callaghan (EOC) is one of the 10 finalist teams in phase 3 (virtual model stage) of NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge for Mars. Both companies partnered to design a shell, which could be constructed entirely by autonomous robots using Mars’ natural regolith, to protect the astronauts from the radiation, as well as micrometeorite strikes. The human-centric design was made with an approach that moves beyond the idea of astronauts as purely operators, to create a habitat where people can not only survive life on Mars, but really thrive there. The concept is well explained in this video, which forms part of the final submission and was made in collaboration with the "LightField London":

Conceptual design images for the project:

3D-printed Mars base by Hassell & EOC (NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge)

Mars habitat interior by Hassell & EOC (NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge)

Monday, April 15, 2019

New official renders of Lockheed Martin's Lunar lander

American aerospace, advanced technologies and defense company Lockheed Martin has published two new renders of its Lunar lander. The lander seems to be scaled down a little if compared to the concept published last year. The purpose of the two-stage lander would be to ship 4 astronauts from NASA's planned Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway to the surface of the Moon and back. The ascent stage is derived from the Orion spacecraft to ensure quicker development of the lander for an accelerated human return to the Moon as early as 2024 (according to the new aspirational timeline of NASA's leadership).

On 2017 Lockheed Martin also proposed its concept for a 4-person Martian lander.

Lockheed Martin Lunar lander on the Moon
Ascent stage docked to the "Early Gateway" in Lunar orbit:
Lockheed Martin Lunar lander docked to NASA Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway

Monday, February 25, 2019

SpaceX explorers digging out Opportunity by Leonhard Loacker

Picture of the Day 25/2/2019 - Drawing of future SpaceX explorers digging out NASA's Opportunity rover on Mars by young Austrian artist Leonhard Loacker. More of his art on his Instagram profile.

SpaceX explorers digging out NASA Opportunity rover on Mars by Leonhard Loacker

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Heavy Mars trucks by Blackbird Interactive

Picture of the Day 9/2/2019 - painting of heavy-duty Mars trucks by Canadian game developer Blackbird Interactive (Brennan Massicotte) for its "Project Eagle" - a 3D interactive Mars base free to play on Steam and developed in collaboration with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The interactive base is intended as NASA's vision of what a human base on Mars would look like in 100 years. Here are HD images from the project.
(Open link in new tab to view ⇩ in full resolution)
Heavy Mars trucks painting by Blackbird Interactive, NASA JPL