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Thursday
Feb152007

Space Colonies by Don Davis


Donald Davis was commissioned to do paintings for NASA in the 1970s and is now offering them to the public domain. The "toroidal shaped space colony" above is an incredible piece of paleo-futuristic art from 1975. Click on the images to make them larger or visit his site to see all of his space paintings.

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Reader Comments (21)

It looks like the artist was watching Mobile Suit Gundam at the time.

February 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLH

Oi, kids these days...

Um, MSG wasn't aired until http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_Suit_Gundam" REL="nofollow">1979!!

More like they were influenced by Davis' work than the other way around.
Really, space futurism was alive and well for quite some time before their were anime shows about giant robots.

February 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

are you sure these pics have never been seen before?

because that first pic definitely has an eerie resemblance to a Microsoft video game by the name of... Halo.

almost exactly like it.

i am in stunned astonishment.

February 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterChuck K.

It may not have been this exact painting, but Davis' works were well-circulated in the 1970s as promotional concepts for future space colonization. I remember Starlog, Omni and Future Life magazines publishing similar images during the period.

The concept of a rotating, cylinderical colony as seen in Mobile Suit Gundam and Babylon 5 was developed by Gerard K. O'Neill at Princeton in the late 1960s-early 1970s and was first published in 1974 in Physics Today, later appearing in a 1977 book called The High Frontier.

The concept is known, suitably, as the O'Neill Cylinder.

February 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Halo's design was inspired (loosely) by Larry Niven's Ringworld series.

They're great books. Read 'em.

February 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKrazmo

I seem to recall seeing the first image in one of my favorite books, a National Geographic textbook called Our Universe.

February 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

reminds me of the Orbitals in the Iain M Banks novels

- Thom

February 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Rendezvous with Rama, obviously.

It beats the O'Neill habitat by two years.

February 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

These are very very similar to paintings by Rick Guidice who also did NASA commissions. For anyone interested in these, and in the San Francisco area... The Wattis Gallery at California College Of The Arts has a couple of Guidice's up.

http://www.wattis.org/exhibitions/2006/universe/

details of Guidice's paintings here...
http://www1.jsc.nasa.gov/er/seh/advart.html

February 16, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJake

First thing that sprang to mind was Mucky Foot's one and only Startopia. It featured a space station of similar design, with that exact style being the way the "Biodeck" looked.
Awesome pic.

February 17, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

The first think I thought of when I saw these was, "Revdevous With Rama" by Arthur C. Clarke.

February 17, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I used to have a book with these paintings in it as a child. It was about the things that were going to happen in the future.

Thanks

February 17, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

What are the names of each of the 2 kingdoms on the opposite sides of the river? ;)

February 17, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I am sure these paintings are impressive. One should also see the "Space" paintings by artist/inventor Rick L. Silas www.coldbentglass.com or www.myspace/ricksilas.com as he uses the same contemporary materials as the space industry to create his multi-dimensional apprearing paintings on tempered glass. Quite stunning, and easy to escape into. No ordinary artist, Rick has invented all of his own artistic mediums and has even patented a process that allows him to bend glass without heat..really.
Watch for him on the Discovery Channel's "Daily Planet he will be one of the featured inventors on the show in April during "Inventors Week"

Submitted by
D'arcy Hoback Silas

February 21, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

You can find more NASA space colony artwork http://www.nas.nasa.gov/About/Education/SpaceSettlement/70sArt/art.html" REL="nofollow">here.

February 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I actually just recently blogged about that.

February 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

A bit late, but I live in huntsville, AL, actually but a mile if that from Von Brauns former residence. I'll shoot some calls to the USSRC here and then over to MSFC and see if they have any info on this video. They keep everything (they really do, notice they display a small 5x5" piece of debris from heat shielding from on of the apollo rockets in a lil display case) I'm sure they have this tucked away somewhere cool and dry just ready for a 25$ fee to copy to digital media, or we can hope. I'll see what I can dig up locally.

April 19, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Rama came out in 72, O'Niell was discussing this stuff with his students in 69. Rama was first to publication (a novel doesn't have to go through peer review), but O'Niell was already doing the calculations on the idea three years earlier.

May 3, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

As a member of the Don S. Davis Fans Yahoo Group, I feel I should point out that this artist is not "General Hammond" from "Stargate SG-1".

If you're looking for Don S., try:
www.donsdavis.com
www.donsdavisart.com
(Don S. is also a visutal artist.)

June 24, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterGilder

To colonize the solar system, we need to adjust our thinking a bit. We are planetary surface creatures. That is where we live, where we've evolved, and we're good at it. Living inside giant space ships is foreign to our thinking. But there is precious little usable planetary surface in our solar system, so it's very valuable.
http://total-videogames.blogspot.com/" REL="nofollow">Total Video games

October 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSudipta Das

The bottom image reminds me of Larry Niven's RINGWORLD.

June 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

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