The Lovell Radio Telescope at Jodrell Bank

Whjen I decided to try and make a mesh of the iconic Lovell Radio Telescope at Jodrell Bank, England, I knew it would be a big task!

I think this is easily the most complex mesh I have ever created. I visited the real radio telescope, and took hundreds, and hundreds of photographs, from every angle I could.

It was really tricky to work out the symmetry of the repeating elements, and it took a bit of trial and error to get it right.

As if that was not demanding enough, I also had to keep the polygon count under control, while trying to include every bolt I could see.

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I had a bit of help, the nice people who work their very kindly sent me some basic plans with the key dimensions marked, so I had a firm foundation to build on.

The end result is rigged, so I can rotate the base and tip the dish into any desired position.

Kuck’s Mosquito

Kuck’s Mosquito is a design for a craft that would mine water from asteroids, comets, or maybe the moons of Mars. The delta-V required is MUCH less than hauling it up from Earth to orbit.

It would work by drilling down into ice, melting it, then sucking up the liquid. The water can then be used for drinking, or could be split into Hydrogen and Oxygen.

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Review – 2001 Files, Christopher Frayling

IMG_3473Today I received my pre-ordered copy of The 2001 File, the Harry Lange design archive. This is a review of it.

Initial impressions are good, the book is heavy, with lots of pages. I was a bit surprised at the lack of a slip cover though.

But the meat of it is, of course, the illustrations. It is VERY heavily illustrated, and the vast majority of the pictures are new to me. The pictures main focus on the design history of all the major elements in the film, with many, many alternate designs that never made it into the finished film.

In many cases there are quite literally dozens and dozens of alternate designs, and it it genuinely fascinating to see how some fairly crude early attempts evolved into the iconic finished versions.

The illustrations are mainly line drawings or plans – there are some colour photographs, but these are not at all well presented, being more than a bit blurry in most cases.

The plans and diagrams make this an essential purchase for someone like me, and astronomical artist. I;m less show about the value to a more general audience, but if you love the design of the film, you will likely find it very satisfying.

I’ve not yet had a chance to read the text properly, but I did notice one mistake – an Ion Spaceship design by Erst Stuhlinger is described as a “Cruciform Space Station”. But speaking for myself, I am very happy to have it, and I am already twitching to turn some of the deigns into fully realised CGI!

Unused alien concept from “2001 A Space Odyssey”

Her’s my take on an unused concept for the Aliens in “2001”, as found in the excellent book by Piers Bizony.concept-p2

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Cosmos Museum, Chisinau, Moldova

On my last visit to Moldova, I was lucky enough to go to the Cosmos Museum. Not a conventional museum, this is set in a scheel, where children are encouraged to make accurate models of rockets, (at ;least the older ones!)

The lady who runs it, Mrs Lubov, is extremely knowledgeable and helpful, and was kind enough to show me the collection of photographs of cosmonauts visiting the city.

They have a pressure suit, lots of samples of space food, and full size detailed plans of Korolov’s “GIRD09” liquid fueled rocket!

I sent them a large print of a set of N-1 rockets, in the hope it will help inspire the next generation.

cosmos-museumI think the children are very lucky to have such an enthusiastic and well informed expert they rto encourage and help them!