This past Wednesday NASA unveiled the design of the next generation of heavy launch vehicle, the Space Launch System (SLS). It’s design bears an uncanny resemblance to Saturn V, the Apollo launch vehicle that took Buzz, Neil and the rest of the gang to the moon.
The Space Launch System is the first exploration-class vehicle since Saturn V. Incorporating technological advancements from the Space Shuttle and Constellation program, SLS would be the most powerful rocket in history giving NASA the potential to explore deeper into space. The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) that will house the future crew venturing into solar system resembles the Apollo Command/Service Module [CSM]. The beefier Orion will be able to house a larger crew for a more extended period of time.
The Space Launch System harkens back to the golden age of space exploration- where anything was possible. A time when human exploration beyond the lower earth orbit was a national goal. Space was the place and humans needed to be there. It’ll be exciting to see the development of the Space Launch System in the upcoming years (fingers crossed). With a possible lift capacity of 130 tons or more, SLS is a beast. If developed, who knows how far we can travel.
For the last few months, Alex and I have been talking about discontinuing the Space Suit of the Week. He’s been writing these posts for 67 weeks now, and you know, there’s only so much of a topic you can take. What was a random fun idea by Alex turned into something that you readers totally love and look forward to on Friday mornings.
Through a random series of events my buddy YMFY introduced to Alana Zimmer, a rad chick in San Francisco who happens to be running a super amazing Tumblr all about space. How perfect is that? So Spacesuit of the Week is definitely sticking around, only this time run by a cool space lady. Please give her a warm welcome to the TFIB crew and check in Fridays at 10am PST for her awesome space related posts.
The beautiful illustrations are from the book The Three Astronauts, written by Umberto Eco and illustrated by Eugenio Carmi. The book tells the story of astronauts from three different countries who all land on the surface of Mars and are united by their fear for a martian, so they work as a team to build a BIG HUGE weapon to use against the alien. But just as the differences between the American, the Chinese and the Russian astronaut dissolved in the face of danger, the differences between the astronauts and the Martian dissolve when the alien stops to help a wounded bird.
The illustrations for the book are a simple mix of watercolor and collage, but done so well that it makes me wish I did both more often. There’s something perfect about the saturation of the blues/greens/browns on the surface of Mars in the lowest image, even though mars is the red planet. There’s something dreamy about the surface of the moon made by a flood of color even though the only water on the moon is frozen solid.
Sometimes, the internet is secretive. Such is the case with the artist behind this week’s Space Suit of the Week. Found here, “Tofu Verde” is a San Paulo-based artist (at least, I assume an artist) responsible for these imaginative and slightly chaotic illustrations. Androgyny Spacesuit (top) illustrates an appropriately ambiguous space traveler suited with enough hoses and attachements to become a solitary space station. Does anyone know more about this illustrator?
Funny enough, Alex has started moving away from the Spacesuit of the Week a bit and then I run into a funny little spacesuit related gem. It’s a book from Andrew Kolb, which is basically a children’s books adaptation of David Bowie’s song, Space Oddity. It’s a great song filled with wild imagery, and Andrew’s interpretation is spot on. The story has sort of a 2001 kind of vibe, but mixed with something you may have seen a in a Golden Book story from long ago. I think it’s a real crime that this isn’t published yet, what parent wouldn’t buy this for their kid?
P.S. You may have seen Andrew’s work on the site before, he did this beautiful poster inspired by The Walking Dead television show.