Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Colonies in Space: Inspiration Realistic and Fantastic

Space colonies are the pinnacle of non-terrestrial habitation in space. It's far trickier to build your world than it is to land on with the keys already in the ignition. I'd done a previous post on colonies--even reused a few images (man do I love the orange death star!) but I wanted to focus on a few different ones for this post. I suppose you could separate them into two categories: realistic futurism (that is to say design concepts by artists and engineers for exploratory purposes) and Hollywood's interpretation.

My point with this series hasn't been to be exhaustive--that is to track down every space or moon base in pop culture. Rather, just to share some art that I think is really cool.

Let's start with the realistic (images courtesy of NASA image archives). Many of these show large agricultural parcels to feed their on-board populations, much like the way the pioneers needed to become self-sustaining:

Here's a few concepts designed for TV and film, toys, books, comics, etc. that may or may not have made it the screen. They didn't need to be accurate in order to wow viewers, but a few--like Babylon 5--have gone the extra mile to include solar panels, centrifuges, shuttle bays, hydroponics facilities, etc.

The Valley Forge was technically a ship, but it serves very much as a colony of sorts...

Some Disney concepts...

Probably the most famous space colony in science fiction...

Just for kicks, here's a huge graphic comparing scale between space stations, spaceships, and other intergalactic craft, both real and imagined.


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