The Baikonur Cosmodrome, located in the desert of Kazakhstan, was the world’s first and largest operational space launch facility. It turned 60-years-old earlier this month, and I would say that it’s seen better days. Russian photographer and urban explorer, Ralph Mirebs, gained access to the defunct facility and captured these somber photos of a decaying Soviet space program.
As you can see, there are remnants of two Buran spacecrafts still in the hangar. One of them, OK-1K2, nicknamed Ptichka (Little Bird), was almost ready for spaceflight in 1992, but the program was shutdown right before it was ready for launch.
Wanderers is a beautiful short film by Erik Wernquist. The visuals depict humanity’s future expansion into the Solar System replete with colonies on Mars, astronauts floating through Saturn’s rings, and humans hiking across Europa’s frozen oceans. Erik’s renderings are stunning. As Phil Plait pointed out at Slate:
“Nothing in there is impossible; no faster than light travel, no wormholes. Even the space elevator shown towering over Mars and the huge cylindrical rotating colony in space (did you notice the Red Sea in it?) are problems in engineering, not physics. We can build them.”
Humanity has an exciting future ahead. I hope our species can work toward this reality.
Adrien M / Claire B is an art duo from Lyon, France. They’re known for their incredible digital performance pieces that often combine theater, dance, and technology. The Sable Cinétique, which translates to “kinetic sand,” is a fascinating demonstration of the Ecran 4K flat screen, displaying particle attractor physics. The reflections on the glass juggling ball makes the video look pretty magical.
This is simply a work-in-progress. The final version will be presented at the Palais de la Découverte, a science museum in Paris, on June 8th, 2015.
The Danish designer, Verner Panton (1926–1998), brought the future to 1960’s and 1970’s interior design. His signature work, Visiona 2, was a fantasy landscape constructed for the 1970 Furniture Fair in Cologne, Germany. The undulating organic forms, made from bright glossy materials, captured the imagination of a free-thinking society. Houses didn’t need separate rooms with individual furniture anymore. Instead, you could lounge on almost any surface.
“Visiona 2 was entirely focused on the question of living in the world of tomorrow. It broke the traditional understanding of space with its clear ascription of functions, instead creating surroundings that were dedicated to well being, communication, and relaxation. For this, Panton designed numerous design objects, including furniture, textiles, lighting, wall and ceiling coverings that formed in highly imaginative arrangements a series of very different spaces. As an integrative component, he developed both a lighting concept and atmospheric sounds for the individual spaces, like the song of a nightingale, the cry of an owl, bee humming, cat howls, or waves.”
“Rockets of the World” is an infographic made by Tyler Skrabek. The poster includes the Payload to Low Earth Orbit as well as the number of successful and unsuccessful launches. It’s an updated design based off an old illustration made by Peter Alway back in 1995:
(Click on the photo to enlarge)
It’s pretty cool to see the diversity of designs, but for the most part, all of them are phallic tubes, a necessity to burst through the Earth’s atmosphere.
Of course, the illustration doesn’t show all of humanity’s rockets. “Just to keep things tidy I choose not to include rockets that haven’t flown yet on the off-chance they don’t actually make it off the ground. But rest assured there will be a version that includes the Falcon 9 Heavy as soon as it does.”
I’m also pretty amazed to see just how big the Saturn V rocket was compared to the competition!
“Riding Light” is a new, beautiful animation by Alphonse Swinehart. In the 45-minute journey, you will travel with light on its way from the Sun to Jupiter. I love videos like this because they really help me gain a better appreciation for the scale of our Universe. If you watch light travel from Earth to Mars, for example, you will realize how difficult it will be to successfully complete a manned exploration mission to the red planet. There’s just so much emptiness between the planetary masses…
A word from the creators:
“In our terrestrial view of things, the speed of light seems incredibly fast. But as soon as you view it against the vast distances of the universe, it’s unfortunately very slow. This animation illustrates, in realtime, the journey of a photon of light emitted from the surface of the sun and traveling across a portion of the solar system, from a human perspective.
I’ve taken liberties with certain things like the alignment of planets and asteroids, as well as ignoring the laws of relativity concerning what a photon actually “sees” or how time is experienced at the speed of light, but overall I’ve kept the size and distances of all the objects as accurate as possible. I also decided to end the animation just past Jupiter as I wanted to keep the running length below an hour.