Krafft Ehricke’s Hyperion, a manned nuclear Mars mission

This is not the Hyperion by Phil Bono, (which you can read about here), but an earlier design from Krafft Ehricke, dating all the way back to the 1950’s. It’s for a manned mission to Mars, (no landing), and a fleet of 3 or 4 ships would be sent for mutual support. I got the information on this project from the always excellent “Atomic Rockets” site, including this plan, which is the basis for my mesh:

Hyperion Plans
Hyperion Plans

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Into the unknown, at the London Barbican. A review.

Yesterday I visited “Into the Unknown“, a Science Fiction exhibition which is currently on at the Barbican, London, and will tour later apparently. This is my review of what I saw there.

The space within the centre they have chosen to use is a bit odd, to say the least. They call it “The Curve”, and it’s not really good for this kind of thing. It’s fairly narow and tall, and feels cramped. Many of the exhibits are a long way up, making it difficult to see them properly.

A dome habitat from "Silent Running"
A dome habitat from “Silent Running”

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RN-2, the Nuclear R7, The Historical Reference Information

Here’s the historical information on the nuclear Soyuz variants I have been able to find. My Russian is not great, in some cases the translation is awkward or not completely clear. Nick

The draft design of the rockets started on the basis of the Decree of June 30, 1958. Two bureaus, OKB-456, and OKB-670 were involved. The design chosen was based on direct heating of the working fluid, and it’s ejection through the nozzle. An open core reactor, in other words.

OKB-456 is now known as NPO Energomash, and at the time was run by the brilliant but prickley rocket engine designer, V P Glushko. OKB-670 was run by M M Bondariuk. Bondariuk had been working on nuclear ammonia rockets since 1954. Continue reading “RN-2, the Nuclear R7, The Historical Reference Information”

Private Viewing, Visions of Space 2

On Friday 9th June 2017, I went down for the opening night of “Visions of Space 2“, This is the first time I have been to see my own work on display in a a gallery!

This is a joint effort between the International Association of Astronomical Artists, the British Interplanetary Society, and the Wells and Mendip astronomers.

Wells and Mendip museum
Wells and Mendip museum

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Exoplanet with rings and Juno based textures.

Like many, I have been stunned by the images coming back from the Juno mission to Jupiter. Take a look here if you’d like to see some of the best.

I particularly liked the polar views, not least because these are the first views. And I decided they would make a great basis for exoplanet textures for a gas giant orbiting another star.

And because ring systems always look cool, I added a complex ring system too, and a couple of knobbly little moons. Everything done in Lightwave 3d this time around.

Here are the results of this brief project.

Pseudo-Jupiter exoplanet with rings
Pseudo-Jupiter exoplanet with rings

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The Slabship / Fury – Development and finished renders

An unusual one for me, as I take a crack at an original science-fiction design.

My objective was to  get something seriously large, primarily for use in Vue. My thinking is that I notice many great concept art pages have fairly abstract ships that are so big the more distant parts are afffected by haze, giving a great sense of scale. And as volumetric effects are a strength of Vue, I figure model in LW with Vue in mind. In practice this meant:

  • Keep the number of different surfaces low
  • Avoid clever effects that I don’t know how to do in Vue, including advanced surfaces
  • Avoid elements that would give a clear idea of scale, such as windows, hatches, stairs
  • Make it a long design so it’s easy to get the most distant parts lost in fog

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More explorations in Vue – Using Haze and Fog, 3d planets

I’m continuing to spend most of my graphics time in Vue recently, and I think I am starting to feel comfortable with it. I’m still getting occasional frustrations, but I’m feeling a lot more in control.

One lightbulb moment was when I realised I did NOT have to use the included billboard planet options for planets! But could use full 3d objects which then pick up the light from the Sun, and are properly affected by the haze and fog. A good example is the ringed planet in the banner image for this post, at the top. (Note the tiny astronaut at the top of the cliffs!)

And here’s another:

Alien cityscape with ringed planet
Alien cityscape with ringed planet

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