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)

Friday, February 26, 2021

Friday, February 19, 2021

Landing site of Perseverance Mars 2020 rover

On February 18th NASA successfully landed its Mars 2020 Perseverance rover on Mars in Jezero Crater (Western Isidis Planitia). As you may wonder where it is, we placed Perseverance's landing location on the map of Mars by National Geographic Society:

Perseverance Mars 2020 rover landing location
Open link in new tab to view the map in full resolution.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has created an animated flyover of the Martian surface explaining why Jezero Crater, a 28-mile-wide ancient lake-delta system, is the best place for Perseverance to find and collect promising samples for a possible future return to Earth. The animation also reveals the route Perseverance will travel in the first years after landing:

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

NASA Mars 2020 Perseverance rover landing in infographics

Tomorrow, on February 18, NASA will land its Mars 2020 Perseverance rover on Mars in Jezero Crater (Western Isidis Planitia). Its mission is to collect samples for later retrieval and it is accompanied by a small reconnaissance drone-helicopter Ingenuity - the first such craft on Mars. We will be able to watch NASA's broadcast of the landing here (starting on 19:15 UTC).

Here is an excellent infographic of Perseverance's landing sequence by Australian space illustrator Tony Bela:
NASA Mars 2020 Perseverance rover landing sequence infographic by Tony Bela
Open link in new tab to view the infographic in its original resolution.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Spaceport on Phobos by Thomas Peters

Picture of the Day 12/02/2021 - Spaceport on Phobos, the closest of two natural Martian moons, by graphic designer and illustrator Thomas Peters (Drell-7). More of his space art here.

Spaceport on Phobos by Thomas Peters (Drell-7)

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Family watching news on terraformed Mars

Family watching news in their room at a human colony on partially terraformed Mars - a concept artwork by Portuguese fantasy artist Tiago da Silva (Grafik) created for upcoming computer game Terraformers. It is a Mars colonization strategy game currently being developed by indie game developer Asteroid Lab.

Note the news ticker below the main story in TV displaying: Carl Sagan National Museum opens new exhibit, "The first missions - Elon Musk" :)

Family watching news on terraformed Mars by Tiago da Silva for Terraformers game