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Entries in space exploration (25)

Saturday
Jul162011

Americans Journey Into Space at the 1964 New York World's Fair

The Official Souvenir Book of the 1964 New York World's Fair includes some gorgeous illustrations of futuristic space exploration. The Fair had phenomenal exhibits showcasing the American push into space, but if you're wondering what the Soviets put on display for 1964 -- smack in the middle of the space race -- you'll be disappointed to hear that they didn't even have a pavilion.

Did the tensions of the Cold War keep the Soviets from coming to a fair whose motto was "Peace Through Understanding"? Not quite. The 1964 New York World's Fair wasn't even an officially sanctioned World's Fair. Robert Moses, the head organizer, decided to charge site rental fees for countries that wanted to have a pavilion and this put the Fair at odds with the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE). Many countries -- including Canada, Australia, the Soviet Union and most of Europe -- didn't have representation at the Fair when the BIE encouraged its members not to participate.

With Americans trotting out jetpacks, videophones and futuristic highways it's kind of interesting to wonder what the Soviets might have done at the Fair in the name of Cold War competition.

Below are pictures that appear in the Official Souvenir Book to the 1964 New York World's Fair.

Without pause, man has rushed headlong into the nuclear age, the space age and the age of automation. A variety of exhibits at the Fair help the fairgoer catch up with this runaway revolution in technology and science. High points of this revolution are shown on these and the next eight pages. America's first steps into orbit around the earth and plans for future ventures into space are set forth in a number of cinematic space trips as well as in a host of real and scale-model exhibits of space-age hardware. The Cape Kennedy story at the Florida pavilion offers a photographic account of launchings, and the U.S. Space Park provides a showplace for Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and a unit of Saturn V, the rocket destined to boost Apollo to the moon.

 

 

Essential to Apollo's journey of discovery, this vehicle will ferry astronauts between their capsule and the moon. It is in the U.S. Space Park.

 

 

A Saturn I booster, with 1.5 million pounds of thrust, lifts a 20,000-pound payload in a blast-off typical of the space age. A scale model of Saturn I is displayed in Florida's Cape Kennedy exhibit.

 

 

A spaceport and supply rocket, designed by the Martin Marietta Corporation, meet in mid-air in this scene from the Hall of Science space show. In such a port, astronauts may orbit for half a year.

Friday
Mar182011

Lunar Crawlers (1964)

For the 1964 World's Fair in New York General Motors hoped to create the same sense of wonder that it had achieved with its Futurama exhibit of the 1939 New York World's Fair. Futurama II expanded upon the highways, cities and conveniences of tomorrow to include lunar and sea exploration. The photo above shows manned "Lunar Crawlers" that are the main form of transporation for future moon travelers.

This image appears in the excellent book Exit to Tomorrow: World's Fair Architecture, Design, Fashion 1933-2005.

Thursday
Dec022010

First Men to the Moon (1960)

The 1960 book First Men to the Moon by Wernher von Braun tells the story of John Mason, a fictional astronaut of the future bound for the moon. The dedication page reads, "To Iris and Margrit [von Braun's daughters] who will live in a world in which flights to the moon will be commonplace."

In the book we read of the training and technical expertise necessary for a journey into space, accompanied by amazing illustrations and diagrams by Fred Freeman. As one of my favorite pre-Apollo books of space retro-futurism I can't recommend this book highly enough. With hard to find retrofuture books like these I sometimes wonder if there might be a market for them if a publisher were to reissue them.

Below I've included a couple of illustrations from the book which show what the fashionable spaceman of the future will be wearing. Look for more from this retro-futuristic classic coming soon (on this blog at least).

 

 

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

Wednesday
Mar032010

Lunar Colonies of the Future (1969)

The May, 1969 issue of Science Journal features an article by Dr. Rodney Wendell Johnson about lunar colonies of the future. Dr. Johnson was the Advanced Planner for NASA's Advanced Manned Mission Program Office. The illustrations by Roy G. Scarfo that accompany the article are pretty amazing.

(Please excuse the semi-blurred scans. The magazine is too big to fit comfortably on my scanner and frankly I'm too lazy to scan it in pieces for you. Listen, you complain any more and I'll turn this rocket ship right around! I swear!)

[The illustration above] shows a semi-permanent base, a six man shelter landed by a direct flight from Earth and coupled to an expandable laboratory in the foreground.

Early lunar bases would grow from Apollo hardware. The picture [above], depicts Apollo lunar modules; that in the background carries a shelter and the other has landed a one man roving vehicle with a range of 8 km. This system would permit 14 day scientific missions in 1971-72, including geological drilling to about 35 m.

 

[UPDATE: Thanks to Winchell Chung for tracking down the illustrator of these great pieces as Roy G. Scarfo, who also illustrated the book Beyond Tomorrow: The Next 50 Years in Space.]

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Saturday
Oct032009

Moon Settlement by 2007 (1985)

The February, 1985 issue of The Futurist magazine featured a piece about a permanent settlement on the moon by 2007.

NASA envisions the completion of a permanent settlement on the moon by the year 2007, the fiftieth anniversary of the space age. The final design of the base should be completed by the early 1990s, and construction might begin by the end of the decade.

The lunar base was the topic of a recent three-day conference in Washington, D.C., that brought together scientists, engineers, former astronauts, anthropologists, and lawyers to discuss the future of the space program.

The moon settlement would be the home of scientists and perhaps workers from private industry, NASA officials say. The base might be an international project, including Europeans, Japanese, and Soviets.

The shuttle now operates on a relatively steady schedule, ferrying aloft a variety of experiments as well as scientists. NASA is also moving forward on plans for a permanently manned space station, due for completion in the early 1990s. These two programs are major steps toward establishing the lunar base. The shuttle would fly material and personnel to low earth orbit, and transfer them to the space station, which would serve as a "halfway house" between earth and moon. Objects brought to the space station by the shuttle would transfer into another reusable craft for the trip into higher orbits and eventually to the moon.

The lunar base will probably be built mostly underground to protect the crew from cosmic radiation; unlike earth, the moon has no protective atmosphere to stop cosmic rays. The crew will number about one dozen; stays would vary between three months and one year, and the facility would be permanently staffed.

Transport will be expensive and supplies costly. A pound of water brought to the moon today would cost as much as a pound of gold on earth. Fortunately, the moon is rich in many elements. Most of the materials needed for the base are available on the moon itself; over half the moon, for example, is made up of oxygen. Titanium, silicon, and aluminum are also found in abundance. But hydrogen - an essential constituent of water - is missing. Unless water is locked away at the lunar poles in the form of ice, this important element will have to be supplied from earth in order for the crew to have water.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

Sunday
Sep202009

First Americans on Mars (1964)

The 1964 book Rockets to Explore the Unknown contains some amazing illustrations by George Bakacs of what people thought spacesuits, rockets and even TVs of the future would look like. The image above depicts the first Americans on Mars.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
Jun282009

A Suit For The First Man on the Moon (1961)

The August 6, 1961 Post-Standard Sunday magazine (Syracuse, NY) ran a short piece about an Experimental Engineering class at UCLA that was experimenting/playing with a "moon man's suit." Designed by Allyn B. Hazard, the suit also appeared on the cover of Life magazine's April 27, 1962 issue. The entire two-page spread from the Post-Standard can be viewed below.

"You're going to land on the moon. You need a suit that will protect you against all the dangers you'll run into. You can start by figuring out what they are."

That's the assignment Professor John Lyman handed his class in Experimental Engineering at U.C.LA. Along with it he gave them a rough model of a moon man's suit designed by California engineer Allyn B. Hazard. The class studied it, wore it, and tried to make it into a practical safeguard for our first moon man. They pin-pointed six major problems the suit must solve:

  1. Breathing: No air on the moon, so the suit must pack oxygen for at least 10 days.
  2. Hot-cold: The moon switches from a boiling 215 degrees F. in the daytime to 250 below at night. Suit must be power-heated and cooled, heavily insulated.
  3. Radiation: A phenomenon called "solar flair" intermittently showers the moon with very intense radiation. Suit must completely shield wearer.
  4. Vacuum effect: Suit must prevent fatal loss of moisture due to moon's near-vacuum atmosphere.
  5. Mobility: Moon's surface is thought to be covered with dust that may be 20 feet thick in places. Also, the atmospheric pressure inside the suit and absence of pressure outside will cause moon man's arms to fly up like Jimmy Durante's and stick there.
  6. Chow: Moon man must carry rations inside suit.

You can see why the suit doesn't exactly have Ivy League cut. Our scientists have dubbed President Kennedy's proposed $40 billion man-to-the-moon project "Apollo." Apollo should sue!

--Joseph Gies

Previously on Paleo-Future: