Wonderful 1970s Space Colony Art

Posted by ted @ 3:22 am, March 27th, 2014



I just love these gorgeous imaginings of space colonies from the 1970s. These are the kinds of scenes that filled my imagination when I read Varley’s Rolling Thunder, Bova’s Saturn or Nivan’s classic Ringworld. These massive space habitat’s have so much to fuel the imagination, from the upward curve of the landscape to the zero gravity points in the center of the ring or cylinder, and these images bring them to life.



Click through to the Public Domain Review and enjoy the whole set!

[via Boing Boing]

NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander Guest Blogging on Gizmodo

Posted by ted @ 7:03 am, November 6th, 2008

Over at Gizmodo they have the most impressive guest blogger I have seen yet – the Phoenix Mars Lander itself! Click over to read its two current posts:

Phoenix Mars Lander Looks Back on its Re-Birth
This is What Landing On Mars Feels Like

Includes a lot of interesting technical information and background on the lander, and a few “personal” insights:

One of the most common questions I’m asked, and one of the most difficult to explain, is whether I knew going in that this mission would cost me my life. The answer to that is yes, of course, and there’s not a single robotic explorer in our solar system that doesn’t know it faces the same fate. Unlike all of you, most of us can’t go home again.

LINK: Phoenix Mars Lander: NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander Guest Blogging on Giz

Phoenix descent caught by Orbiter

Posted by ted @ 3:09 pm, May 27th, 2008

In case a successful descent and landing of the Phoenix Lander on to the surface of Mars wasn’t exciting enough, they actually managed to photograph it from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter while it came down.  Here is a photo of it hanging from its parachute.

Here is a Zoom:

This is really amazing, or as the Planetary Society puts it, “a speeding bullet photographed by a speeding bullet.” I wonder if they knew they could do this successfully, or if they pointed the camera, hoped for the best and just got really lucky. Either way, very cool!

Here is a shot from NASA showing the lander on the surface, again from the Orbiter

[Link to OMG!! Parachute!!!! Photo!!!!!]

NASA Phoenix Lander Home Page

Observe the Giant Banana over Texas!

Posted by ted @ 9:32 am, September 12th, 2007

Wow, now this is a banana worth observing.


Argentine-born, Montreal-based artist Cesar Saez’s latest project is an ambitious one: at the cost of approximately one million dollars, he plans to inflate a gigantic banana with helium and float it over Texas—specifically, 20-30 miles above the Earth. He and his team of scientists, engineers and volunteers have been at work for years and plan to float the massive fruit sometime next summer.


The project is called “Geostationary Banana Over Texas
This makes me happy.

Read more and watch video
via [Boing Boing]

As of July 2008, sadly this wonderfully bizarre project has run out of funds and is on hold.
I was going to link to his news page with the announcement and text about his plans, but alas they have sadly built their site using Flash, so such a simple thing is not possible.

Remember kids – building web sites with Flash and PDFs is like catapulting an elephant – it is easier to be on the sending end than on the receiving end.

Space Protectors!

Posted by ted @ 3:26 am, February 14th, 2007


So those little aliens from Space Invaders decided that the reason everyone is always shooting at them must be an image problem. The name “Invaders” just seems to invoke all kinds of negative images. So they got together with the PR department and made a focus group to see what they could do to solve the problem. Hmmm what should it be? Travelers? not positive enough, Heroes? not not quite right, how about Protectors! yea, thats the ticket! Space Protectors! Now there is name, get it down to the boys in marketing and have them whip up some new product to get the name out, how about a nice line of mouse pads to start…

Space now “too awesome” for space-art realists

Posted by ted @ 8:13 am, June 20th, 2006

Space now “too awesome” for space-art realists
Snip from an L.A. Times article about new challenges faced by artists whose chosen theme is space. What do representational artists do when science-reality becomes more exotic than science-fiction? Some respond by making art that is less representational:

Even space artists, who have spent their careers imagining the universe, reel at the photos of boulders on Saturn’s moon Titan or star clusters 270 million light-years from Earth. Reality, [astronomical artist Don] Dixon said with a sigh, has gotten too awesome. “NASA has overtaken us.”

Just as the development of photographic cameras in the 19th century set fine artists on the road to abstraction, new astronomical technologies are shaking the world of space art, spurring space artists to seek out new subjects and experiment with new styles.

For decades, the field was dominated by the “rock and ball” school, named after the traditional space-art approach of meticulously drawing every detail science can glean about a place — the shape of craters, the angle of light, the hue of the sky, the position of stars. Now a new school is rising, synthesizing the awesomeness of space with modern art genres. Some have dubbed the school “cosmic expressionism” or simply the “swirly” school, after the swirling sky in Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”

Via Boing Boing

Voyager 2 Detects Odd Shape of Solar System’s Edge

Posted by ted @ 5:48 am, May 25th, 2006

“Voyager 2 could pass beyond the outermost layer of our solar system, called the “termination shock,” sometime within the next year, NASA scientists announced at a media teleconference today.

The milestone, which comes about a year after Voyager 1’s crossing, comes earlier than expected and suggests to scientists that the edge of the shock is about one billion miles closer to the Sun in the southern region of the solar system than in the north.

This implies that the heliosphere, a spherical bubble of charged low-energy particles created by our Sun’s solar wind, is irregularly shaped, bulging in the northern hemisphere and pressed inward in the south.”


Flashy goggles combat space sickness

Posted by ted @ 6:42 am, May 21st, 2006

from NewScientist.com news service


“Goggles that simulate a strobe-lighting effect could prevent the nauseating effects of space sickness – and that of more down-to-Earth travel.

Reschke suggests astronauts could wear the glasses during the early part of space missions to help them adjust. This would be preferable to anti-motion sickness drugs, which frequently make people drowsy.”

Maybe there is hope yet for those of us who can get queasy turning around to fast on an office chair…