Friday, February 11, 2022

SpaceX Starship update 2022

On February 10th SpaceX CEO and lead designer Elon Musk provided the latest update of SpaceX's Starship architecture. Here are slides and animations from his presentation.
Animation of Starship launch and arrival to Mars Base Alpha [updated on April 2023]:
Full presentation:

Slides from the presentation

Starship specifications:
SpaceX Starship update 2022 - Starship specifications
Super Heavy booster specifications:
SpaceX Starship update 2022 - Super Heavy booster specifications

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Spaceport on Phobos (concept art for Aliens: Colonial Marines)

Digital paintings of a spaceport on Phobos, the closest of two natural Martian moons. These images are concept art for Aliens: Colonial Marines (2013) - a first-person shooter (FPS) game set in the universe of Alien franchise. Unfortunately this location didn't make to the final game release.

In Alien's universe (depicted in Alien, Predator & Prometheus movies, games and books) Mars is the first planet colonized by humans in mid-21st century. There are many colonies and military bases on the planet established by both national and commercial entities and housing millions of people. On Phobos there is a commercial research facility experimenting with xenomorphs or aliens - a highly aggressive endoparasitoid extraterrestrial species.

Spaceport on Phobos (concept art for Aliens - Colonial Marines game)
Spaceship leaving Phobos' spaceport. Note the partially terraformed Mars below:
Spaceship leaving spaceport on Phobos (concept art for Aliens - Colonial Marines game)

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Spaceship landing on Mars by Evgeny Kazantsev

A large spaceship with the design similar to Star Trek's USS Enterprise landing on Mars by Russian sci-fi artist Evgeny Kazantsev from his "Ural Airlines Fantastic Fleet" series. More of his art here.

Spaceship landing on Mars by Evgeny Kazantsev

Spaceship landing at Mars base by Evgeny Kazantsev

Sunday, January 9, 2022

New settlers arriving on Mars

New settlers arriving at Martian spaceport – a concept artwork by Canadian illustrator Alexandra Hodgson for upcoming computer game Terraformers. It's a Mars colonization strategy game to be released in Q1 2022 and developed by indie game developer Asteroid Lab. Since October 2021 you can play free prologue of the game.

Design of the spaceship is clearly inspired by the initial design of SpaceX's Starship when it was first presented in 2016 and called Interplanetary Transport System. As we have observed – that first 12m diameter Starship design is quite popular with artists and game developers depicting colonization of Mars.

New settlers arriving on Mars (concept art by Alexandra Hodgson for Terraformers game)

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Mars base by Tetsuya Mizuno

Picture of the Day 01/01/2022 - a small shuttle landing at human base on Mars by Japanese illustrator Tetsuya Mizuno (Watermark).

Mars base by Tetsuya Mizuno
Closeup of illustration's right side:
Shuttle landing at Mars base by Tetsuya Mizuno

Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas from Santa Claus on Mars!

Merry Christmas for you all from Santa Claus on Mars! Artwork by American illustrator, Star Wars artist Chris Trevas. More of his art here.

Merry Christmas from Santa Claus on Mars by Chris Trevas

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Map of shallow subsurface water in Valles Marineris on Mars

On December 15 scientists from Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, Russia revealed a discovery of an area with an unusually large amount of hydrogen in the Valles Marineris canyon system on Mars. Assuming the hydrogen is bound into water molecules, as much as 40% of the near-surface material in Candor Chaos region appears to be water. The discovery was made by neutron detector FREND on ESA&Roscosmos's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter orbiting Mars since October 2016. FREND is mapping the distribution of hydrogen in the uppermost meter of the planet’s surface. Hydrogen indicates the presence of water, being one of the constituents of the water molecule; it can also indicate water absorbed into the surface, or minerals that were formed in the presence of water.

While water is known to exist on Mars, most is found in the planet’s cold polar regions as ice. Typically water ice is not found exposed at the surface near the equator, as temperatures there are not cold enough for exposed water ice to be stable. Minerals seen in this part of Mars typically contain only a few percent water, much less than is evidenced by these new observations. We found a central part of Valles Marineris to be packed full of water – far more water than we expected. This is very much like Earth’s permafrost regions, where water ice permanently persists under dry soil because of the constant low temperatures,” told one of the scientists involved in the study.

These are very inspiring discoveries for the future human colonization of Valles Marineris region we have imagined in our speculative Mars Colonization Timeline!

Water in Valles Marineris region on Mars traced by ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter
⇧ In the area C up to 40% of the near-surface material appears to be composed of water (by weight).
The most water-rich area in Valles Marineris region is located in Candor Chaos:
Subsurface water-ice in Valles Marineris region on Mars
Subsurface water-ice in Candor Chaos (Valles Marineris) on Mars

HERE is global-scale map of shallow subsurface water distribution on Mars published in 2019.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Lunar colony in season 5 of The Expanse

After the bombardment of Earth Lovell City on Luna (the Moon) became the de facto capital of United Nations, 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. Luna functions as a way station between Earth and the rest of the Solar system, and its spaceport at Lovell City serves as a natural meeting place between residents of the inner planets and Belters. Due to its lower gravity, Luna is the only body in the inner system that Belters can easily visit. UN citizens living on Luna are generally wealthier than most of their counterparts on Earth.

As Mars was one of the major locations in season 4 of the show, Luna is in season 5, coming into spotlight after the bombardment of Earth. Here is a collection with HD images from the Lunar scenes in season 5 of The Expanse. There are a few more from the trailer of the season.

Lunar colony (Aldrin Docks at Lovell City) in season 5 of The Expanse

Lunar colony (Lovell City) in season 5 of The Expanse
Avasarala looking at Lovell City:
Avasarala looking at Lunar colony (Lovell City) in season 5 of The Expanse
Memorial at Lovell City:
Memorial at Lunar colony (Lovell City) in season 5 of The Expanse

Monday, December 6, 2021

SpaceX Legacy: episode 1: Manned Mission to Mars

YouTuber iamVisual has started to produce animated short series about the legacy of SpaceX – the leading NewSpace company developing innovative and cost-effective rocket and space technologies, including the first fully and rapidly reusable rocket system – two-stage super heavy-lift Starship rocket. The 1st episode of the series visualizes first human mission to Mars. You can watch it here: