"We're space explorers, and we need space!"
February 2, 2007 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Where did you want to live when you grew up? If you're like me, you read Clarke's SF classic, Rendezvous with Rama (soon to be a major motion picture?). Donald E. Davis took what we dreamed about and illustrated it, for NASA. His depictions of O'Neill Cylinders, Stanford Tori, and Bernal Spheres are in the public domain (and make excellent desktop wallpaper).
posted by Eideteker (24 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
This is one of my favorites.
posted by bshort at 10:49 AM on February 2, 2007

Wow. Thanks, Don and Eideteker.
posted by gubo at 10:50 AM on February 2, 2007

Wow. That Rama movie has been in the pipeline for ten years now. I can't believe it's still around. Morgan Freeman must really love it or something.
posted by zsazsa at 10:51 AM on February 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

Stuff like this gives me the willies.

Cool post.
posted by Mister_A at 11:15 AM on February 2, 2007

Right, zsazsa. Development Heck, but still going strong! (?)

I can't -stand- the rest of the Rama series, it was like a rollercoaster ride going down, down, down. But the first book was faboo.
posted by cavalier at 11:22 AM on February 2, 2007

posted by freebird at 11:27 AM on February 2, 2007

Let me tell you, if you see one of those O'Neill Cylinders coming your way, get the heck out of there!
posted by owenkun at 11:29 AM on February 2, 2007

Go to your nearest public library's periodicals stacks and hunt up the July 1976 issue of National Geographic. The illustrated article you want to look at is "First Colony in Space." I think that's what first got me thinking beyond Robert A. Heinlein and Star Trek.

(I was lying in a rented hospital bed in a body cast (serious spine injury), and it and "Operation Tall Ships" during the Bicentennial celebration totally saved my summer.)
posted by pax digita at 11:36 AM on February 2, 2007

My expectations for the future were forever warped when I saw that illustration of the Stanford Tori in a children's encyclopedia. The little kid in me is still mourning the fact that I'm not living there right now (not to mention the fact that the chance of ever flying like in dreams seems pretty slim.)
posted by treepour at 11:38 AM on February 2, 2007

All these images are yours, except Europa. Attempt no downloads there.

LOL! Cool post.
posted by brundlefly at 12:27 PM on February 2, 2007

I didn't want to live anywhere in particular. I just wanted to go wherever Uncle Scrooge took Donald and the boys.
posted by jfuller at 12:40 PM on February 2, 2007

brundlefly, I was inspired by the filename of the page.
posted by Eideteker at 12:47 PM on February 2, 2007

Thanks for posting these, Eideteker.
posted by jiawen at 1:55 PM on February 2, 2007

"Go to your nearest public library's periodicals stacks and hunt up the July 1976 issue of National Geographic."

I have a copy of this, which my grandfather gave me. It's one of my most prized possessions, bagged and boarded. I won't even put it on my scanner to grab the awesome paintings inside... I guess I should find a second one, huh?

Yeah... I'm a huge nerd.

I've posted before that I think we should learn how to build working, sustainable space habitats before we start human-staffed exploration of the solar system, and these old paintings are definitely one part of my thoughts about it.

Thanks, Eideteker!
posted by zoogleplex at 3:53 PM on February 2, 2007

Cool post. The High Frontier was one of my favorite books as a teenager (yea, I was big geek). I fear that these habitats are one of those things that are always going to be fifty years in the future though. We don't seem any closer to building such things now than we were a quarter century ago when I was in high school.
posted by octothorpe at 5:02 PM on February 2, 2007

When it comes to Clarke, my favorite was Childhood's End.
posted by GavinR at 5:04 PM on February 2, 2007

Previously. More Don Davis art at the Space Studies Institute.

I'll stick with our little blue space colony, thanks. Once we have it running smoothly, then maybe we can think about spreading out (as long as the neighbors don't mind.)
posted by cenoxo at 5:49 PM on February 2, 2007

Slovenian rocket engineer Herman Poto─Źnik's 1928 book, The Problem of Space Travel - The Rocket Motor [English text] and Jack Williamson's 1939 story, The City of Space, introduced early space habitat concepts that may have inspired Arthur C. Clarke.

WRT pax digita's reference to the July 1976 National Geographic article, The Next Frontier?, it was written by Isaac Asimov and illustrated by Pierre Mion. I scanned two images from my copy: the Frontier looks mostly like factory farms and shopping malls (w/o blue sky), so why move?
posted by cenoxo at 7:36 PM on February 2, 2007

Oh, wow. This is good.
posted by greycap at 11:53 PM on February 2, 2007

GavinR: Well yes, Childhood's End is his calling card for literary genius.

This quote from The West Wing seems appropriate:

Leo: My generation never got the future it was promised... Thirty-five years later, cars, air travel is exactly the same. We don't even have the Concorde anymore. Technology stopped.
Josh: The personal computer...
Leo: A more efficient delivery system for gossip and pornography? Where's my jet pack, my colonies on the Moon?

posted by Kattullus at 8:52 AM on February 3, 2007

Wherever you go, there you are. I love Space Art. Trippy. In glass too.

If NYC were obliterated, as depicted in Chesley Bonestell's painting for Collier's magazine in 1948.
posted by nickyskye at 12:30 PM on February 3, 2007

*working link for that NYC obliteration image.
posted by nickyskye at 1:35 PM on February 3, 2007

...more of Bonestell's vivid NYC paintings here.
posted by cenoxo at 8:30 PM on February 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

wow cenoxo, those are amazing pictures! Thanks. (maybe they also belong over in the End of the World thread?)
posted by nickyskye at 7:21 AM on February 4, 2007

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