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Design

Luna: A Lantern That Looks Like a Moon

September 22, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Taiwanese design firm Acorn Studio recently announced a new lighting system that mimics the color and shape of a moon. Luna is a dimmable halogen light housed inside a glass fiber and non-toxic latex housing that comes in 7 different sizes ranging from 3.2″ to 23.6″ in diameter. Learn more over on Indiegogo. (via Laughing Squid, The Awesomer)

 

 



Amazing Science

Starting With the Earth as a Marble, This Is the First Timelapse of the Solar System to Scale

September 17, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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When looking in a science textbook or a toy mobile of the solar system, it’s easy to depict the sun, planets and moon to scale in comparison to each other. What’s not so easy to visually comprehend the staggering distance that separates each planet on its individual orbit around the sun. Filmmakers Alex Gorosh and Wylie Overstreet challenged themselves to build such a model and the result is this fascinating short film To Scale.

Starting with the Earth as the size of a marble, it turns out you need an area about 7 miles (11.2km) to squeeze in the orbit of the outermost planet, Neptune. The team used glass spheres lit by LEDs and some GPS calculations to map out the solar system on the dry bed of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Once nighttime arrived they shot a timelapse from a nearby mountain that accurately reflects the distance of each orbital path at a scale of roughly 1:847,638,000. Amazing.

If you have more questions about how they did it, here’s a brief making of clip. (via Colossal Submissions)

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When standing next to the Earth in the scale model, the orb representing the sun appears exactly the same size as the actual sun.

 

 



Design History

This Giant Abandoned Soviet Spaceship Made of Wood Looks Like the Ultimate Children’s Playground Feature

September 13, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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While exploring an abandoned corner of the Zhukovsky airfield (Ramenskoye Airport) in Moscow two years ago, aviation photographer Aleksander Markin stumbled onto a forgotten relic of Russia’s Buran Space Program. This decaying wooden spacecraft was used as a wind tunnel model in the 1980s for the VKK Space Orbiter, the largest and most expensive Soviet space exploration program conceived as a response to the United States’ Space Shuttle. Despite its scientific purposes the wooden ship has the appearance of a fantastic children’s playground feature.

According to Urban Ghosts, this 1:3 scale replica was just one of 85 wind tunnel models used to test various aerodynamic properties of the orbiter. The testing would eventually reveal that NASA’s prototype for the Enterprise was ideal for spaceflight and the VKK Space Orbiter would take a similar design as a result.

Despite the ambitious size and scale of the Buran Space Program, the final craft would fly only a single unmanned mission in 1988 before being scrapped completely in 1993 due to lack of funding and political instability (and yet only modern Russia retains the ability to send people to the ISS today). Markin mentions in comments along with his photographs that this particular wind tunnel model has since been destroyed and no longer exists. (via Urban Ghosts)

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Art

Michael Kagan’s Space-Based Paintings Explore the Fatalistic Power of Manmade Machinery

August 25, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

Contact Light, 2014, Oil and linen, 60 x 45 inches

Contact Light, 2014, Oil and linen, 60 x 45 inches

Heavily tinted blue paintings form space stations, spacesuits, and rockets just after blast. Michael Kagan paints these large-scale works to celebrate the man-made object—machinery that both protects and holds the possibility of instantly killing those that operate the equipment from the inside. To paint the large works, Kagan utilizes an impasto technique with thick strokes that are deliberate and unique, showing an aggression in his application of oil paint on linen.

The New York-based artist focuses on iconic images in his practice, switching back and forth between abstract and representational styles. “The painting is finished when it can fall apart and come back together depending on how it is read and the closeness to the work,” said Kagan about his work. “Each painting is an image, a snapshot, a flash moment, a quick read that is locked into memory by the iconic silhouettes.”

Kagan exhibited this series of space-based paintings last year at Joshua Liner Gallery in an exhibition titled Thunder in the Distance. He was also recently commissioned by The Smithsonian to create three large paintings inspired by their air and space archives. You can see more of his work on his Instagram here. (via Fubiz)

One Day This Will All Be Yours, 2014, Oil and linen, 60 x 80 inches

One Day This Will All Be Yours, 2014, Oil and linen, 60 x 80 inches

Reflector, 2014, Oil and linen, 36 x 36 inches

Reflector, 2014, Oil and linen, 36 x 36 inches

We Live On In The Thoughts Of Others, 2014, Oil and linen, 36 x 36 inches

We Live On In The Thoughts Of Others, 2014, Oil and linen, 36 x 36 inches

Apollo, 2010, Oil and linen, 60 x 34 inches

Apollo, 2010, Oil and linen, 60 x 34 inches

Supersonic, 2014, Oil and linen, 72 x 54 inches

Supersonic, 2014, Oil and linen, 72 x 54 inches

Mankind, 2014, Oil and linen, 96 x 54 inches

Mankind, 2014, Oil and linen, 96 x 54 inches

With All The F*cking Force, 2011, Oil and linen, 60 x 80 inches

With All The Fucking Force, 2011, Oil and linen, 60 x 80 inches

 

 



Photography Science

Pluto Through the Years: A GIF Showing Gradually Improved Views of Pluto from 1930-2015

July 21, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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You’ve probably had your fill of Pluto news for the week, but this is still worth a quick glance. NASA released this fun 17-frame GIF showing the best images of Pluto obtained at the time, spanning Clyde Tombaugh’s first shot of the [dwarf] planet at the Lowell Observatory in 1930, up through a series of shots obtained by New Horizons over the last decade. You can see a full listing of image credits here. (via Explore)

 

 



Design

The Visually Stunning ‘Tesseract’ Scene in Interstellar was Filmed on a Physically Constructed Set

June 12, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Spoiler alert. One of the most jaw-dropping moments of Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film Interstellar is the climactic moment when Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) enters a visually stunning environment that allows him to physically communicate through time using gravity. In the movie, the scene is manifested as a small library in his home that appears to infinitely repeat with versions of every moment that has ever occurred there. Essentially it’s a cube in four dimensions. Here’s a pretty good explanation of how it works:

The Tesseract is a means of communication for the bulk beings to express action through gravity with NASA. The bulk beings can perceive five dimensions as opposed to four, able to see every moment in the past, present, and future as well as influence gravity within any of those time frames. […] The tesseract allowed Cooper to communicate with Murphy Cooper [his daughter] in various time periods, presenting time itself as a dimension rather than linear. Everything is linked by the strings of time, which Cooper can manipulate. The beings made this comprehensible to Cooper by allowing him to physically interact with the Tesseract.

The idea of the tesseract scene alone was so daunting to the filmmakers, Nolan and his special effects team procrastinated for months before trying to tackle how it might work. After months of concepting and model building the team opted for the unusual approach of using minimal digital effects in favor of fabricating a massive set which the actors could physically manipulate. A remarkable feat considering not only the complexity of the concepts depicted, but the cost and labor of building something so large.

Included here are some shots of the set. You can watch even more of it here. (via Fubiz)

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Food Photography

Fictional Images of the Universe Made From Scanning Household Items and Food by Navid Baraty

March 10, 2015

Johnny Strategy

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Planet – bottom of a glass containing half and half, water, food coloring. Moons – bottom of a glass containing coconut milk, water, food coloring. Stars – salt, cinnamon, baking powder, tums

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Black hole – bottom of a glass of coffee, salt, sugar, corn starch, cinnamon

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Planet – bottom of a glass containing half and half, water, food coloring. Stars – salt, cinnamon, baking powder

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Nebula – makeup, olive oil, chalk, baby powder, salt, water

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Nebula with gas streams – cat fur, garlic powder, salt, flour, cumin, turmeric

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Distant galaxy – olive oil, sesame oil, water, cumin, cinnamon, flour

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Spiral galaxy – baking soda, curry powder, chalk, salt, sugar, cinnamon

Have you ever left the lid of a scanner open to find that the background of your image was rendered black instead of white? That, essentially, was the impetus behind photographer Navid Baraty’s latest project WANDER Space Probe. Using an Epson photo scanner, Baraty carefully positions various household items, many of which are edible, on the document table.

Cooking ingredients like baking soda, sugar and cinnamon act as distant stars and nebulas while glasses containing milk, water and food coloring create the planets. Once everything is aligned properly Baraty hits the scan button. The photographer describes his project as “Cosmic explorations of an imaginary space probe.” You can follow Baraty’s fictional space probe and its adventures into depths of the unknown on Facebook and Instagram. (via My Modern Met)