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

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Underground oasis in a Martian lava tube

Shane Powers (USA) & Linjie Wang (China) have created a design of an artificial underground oasis in a Martian lava tube for Marstopia international design contest held by Eleven Magazine. Their design named "Below Freezing" won the "honourable mention" award in the contest. Its main feature, besides utilizing natural lava tubes, is a vertical transportation system (surrounded by 3D-printed ice walls) to Mars's surface. Martian lava tubes could become very handy in creating large, radiation-protected spaces for future human colonists on Mars.

Underground oasis in a Martian lava tube by Shane Powers & Linjie Wang for Marstopia design contest

Monday, September 21, 2020

SpaceX Mars Base Alpha concept by Sotiris

Here is a concept of SpaceX's early Mars Base Alpha by Twitter user Sotiris. The concept features a pair of crew Starships with Falcon 9 style landing legs, several pressurized Mars Cybertrucks, The Boring Company's tunnel boring machine and 3-level habitation modules derived from used Starship propellant tanks and connected in pairs (a questionable idea, we think).

SpaceX Mars Base Alpha concept by Sotiris

SpaceX Mars Base Alpha concept by Sotiris
Cutaway of the habitation module:
Mars habitation module concept by Sotiris - cutaway

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Friday, September 11, 2020

Total Recall (1990) concept art by Ron Cobb

Australian artist Ron Cobb has done concept art for many famous sci-fi movies, as Star Wars, Alien, Back to the Future and countless other. One of the movies he has worked on is a movie known to all Mars fans - Total Recall (1990), stared by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone and Michael Ironside and directed by Paul Verhoeven. Here are some historic concept art images created by Ron Cobb for the famous movie:
Maglev train connecting Martian colonies
Maglev train concept for Total Recall (1990) movie by Ron Cobb.
Mars colony exterior
Colony exterior concept for Total Recall (1990) movie by Ron Cobb.
Mars shuttle
Mars shuttle concept for Total Recall (1990) movie by Ron Cobb.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Short film: honeymoon trip to the Moon with SpaceX Starship

Two brothers from DeepSpaceCourier have created an animated short film of a newly married couple taking their honeymoon trip to the Moon with SpaceX's Starship. The short film starts with the couple boarding Starship Super Heavy at ocean launch platform; Starship is launched to the Moon and after a few days voyage docks to Lunar Gateway; there the couple switches to a Lunar Starship and lands on the surface of the Moon.

Some images from the short film in chronological order:
SpaceX Starship Super Heavy at ocean launch platform by DeepSpaceCourier

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Friday, September 4, 2020

Earthscrapers (inverted underground skyscrapers) could be perfect for Mars

When building on Mars you need to seriously consider measures to protect the inhabitants from cosmic radiation. You can cover your very first Martian outpost with few meters of regolith or use expensive materials with radiation blocking properties but for larger structures the obvious choice is to build underground. Lava tubes could be a solution but they are not present everywhere on Mars. So most likely you will need to dig your habitats.

One of the building types perfect for Mars could be earthscrapers (or would you call them marsscrapers on Mars?) - inverted underground skyscrapers with large vertical central void (covered with a transparent dome on the surface) for natural lighting. The living and public space is arranged in multiple levels encircling that central void. Here is an example of such structure designed by Fernando Castiñeira, Hernan Goldfarb, Alejandro Ispani, Alex Nelken, Javier Maratea & Malena Verni for 2007 Skyscraper Competition by

Central void of Martian earthscraper (inverted underground skyscraper)
Simple diagram of the design:
Diagram of Martian earthscraper (inverted underground skyscraper)

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Donut cafe on Mars by Natalia Babiy

As Elon Musk has said: colonizing Mars will create "an explosion of entrepreneurial opportunity because Mars will need everything from iron foundries to pizza joints to nightclubs. Mars should really have great bars". Here is a donut cafe on Mars by Ukrainian concept artist Natalia Babiy. More of her art here.

Donut cafe on Mars by Natalia Babiy

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

SpaceX orbital shuttle concept by Rodrigo Magro

SpaceX is developing its Starship Super Heavy two-stage super heavy-lift launch vehicle for interplanetary flights. But, if you would need a flight only between the surface of Mars, Moon or other similar planetary body and its orbit, you could do it by less powerful spacecraft - an orbital shuttle.

Here is a concept of such spacecraft, called SpaceX Starflight, by Spanish transportation designer Rodrigo Magro. The orbital shuttle would have a lifting-body shape with thermal shield on the windward side, two forward winglets as Starship, four lower fins with landing legs and solar panels, large panoramic window and hypergolic auxiliary engines for landing on the Moon and other smaller planetary bodies.

SpaceX orbital shuttle on Mars by Rodrigo Magro

SpaceX orbital shuttle concept by Rodrigo Magro