The visual codes associated with space conquest have evolved significantly over the course of half a century.
The image that ordinary people associate with space conquest has evolved over the decades. However, some of these visual codes – curved, refined cylindrical structures … – survive to this day to impose themselves on large projects of the future, such as the Blue Origin or the future commercial space station of Axiom Space. So we suggest you take a moment to step back in time with these images that illustrate the future of spaceFifty years ago NASA imagined.
In the 1970s, NASA experienced one of its most glorious periods. The agency was credited with the huge success of the Apollo 11 mission, which saw the first astronauts land on the moon in 1969; An extraordinary epic that sparked An unprecedented enthusiasm from the public, now fond of information and folklore associated with the place.
NASA has therefore tried to quell this frenzy by communicating more with the general public; During this time it was the tradition of communication and popular science that is still in force at NASA today.
The ruins of a bygone era
In the twenty-first century, most of this communication travels through digital channels; NASA issues regular blog posts, but and above all Videos, live broadcasts, and so on. Among these elements, Artists’ opinions and other visual help Occupies a very important place, because they are especially effective in attracting the general public and working their imagination.
But in the 1970s, the situation was clearly very different. At the time, NASA did not have computers, software, or 3D artists; Impossible, therefore, to create all these synthetic images that have a considerable effect on public perception.
But that doesn’t mean NASA isn’t creating visuals in question; It simply did so by a very different process, viz Thanks to the talented painters ! These were gathered together into a grand program, which was baptized with ease NASA Arts Program (NASAAP). And for many years, it was his soldiers who had the heavy responsibility of placing images on the agency’s projects and abstract ideas.
NASAAP still exists today, but it is significantly smaller than it was then; In the post-Apollo 11 era, it was a huge studio full of highly talented artists who brought to life some of NASA’s most ambitious projects and portrayed it in an entirely recognizable style; Here are some of their notable productions.
O’Neill’s Cylinder and Bernal’s Sphere, 70s star concept
At the time, NASA was particularly interested O’Neill Cylinder. It is the concept of a space colony consisting of a pair of cylinders that rotate in the opposite direction to create artificial gravity and point the structure towards the sun to extract energy from it. The company has also extensively explored the concept of the Bernal sphere, another concept of long-term spatial habitat.
NASAAP artists were apparently very inspired by these ideas. So they had a field day painting gorgeous and somewhat reminiscent of the 1970s. Their profession in an unadulterated and carefully divided environment.
A philosophy is radically opposed to the current concept, which is largely based on a concise and refined design. Will we ever see such colorful artwork coming out of the NASA office? This is unlikely as the agency’s visual code, but the entire space industry has evolved … unless one of the space-savvy billionaires decides to reintroduce the idea one day.