Retrofuturistic NASA Space Art: NASA Image of the Week

By Last Updated: January 5, 2021Views: 1378

Happy Tuesday! Way back in the long-forgotten days of the mid-2010s I used to post images from the NASA.gov website, specifically their “Image of the Day” section. I did this for two reasons: 1) The images are really cool and I love space and science and 2) Not gonna lie, it was a really simple way to add content to the site.

But soon it took on a different role. I started to write little (possibly humorous) intros and that led to investigations into other ideas and subjects related to the images. So in the spirit of “New Beginnings” which is the theme of this month, I decided to revive this feature and plan to continue doing so every Tuesday for the foreseeable future or until I forget whichever comes first.

This image today is an artist rendition of a toroidal or donut-shaped colony. I first was introduced to this concept from Larry Niven’s novel Ringworld. In the novel, a human is tasked with the mission of investigating a gigantic ring space station to see if it might be hostile. FYI: the human is given this mission by a two-headed, three-legged race of aliens called the Puppeteers. So that’s cool.

Anyway, this image brought back memories of that novel. A story I had not read since high school and one that I decided to revisit. At the time of this writing, I am waiting for it to be delivered to my local library. And I’m looking forward to revisiting a sci-fi classic. So this revival is already paying benefits. Good on ya NASA.

Here’s what NASA has to say about this image:

This fictional toroidal (doughnut-shaped) space colony, illustrated by Rick Guidice, is one of many artistic renderings that were born out of an art program at NASA’s Ames Research Center in the 1970s. Ames scientists conducted three different studies into how humans may one day build massive space colonies.

Artistic endeavors like these help form connections between science and the public, acting as valuable tools in illustrating NASA’s explorations and discoveries. Though the NASA Art Program isn’t as vast as it used to be, makers and creators continue working with NASA scientists and engineers to create visually engaging concept art and animations, like the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Exoplanet Planet Travel Bureau.

Image Credit: NASA’s Ames Research Center

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