asteroid mining

The Gold Rush, circa 2050

OK.. Firstly, I promise this is the last image with the giant glarey sun-thing going in…

The image I wanted to make here had shadows fanning out from each of the objects in the scene. I tried every type of light object, CSTools Fog, you name it… No cool shadows; if anyone has any idea how I would do that in C4D, I would definitely like to know!
asteroid mining ship-thumb


So… Asteroid Mining; regular watchers will know I have touched on this subject before, here. It’s a subject I’m interested in and it’s in the news - we’re burning through the Earth’s resources at an accelerating rate and based on known reserves, key elements such as phosphorus, antimony, zinc, tin, lead, indium, silver, gold and copper will be exhausted in 50–60 years.

The mining of asteroids for these elements has been suggested as our ‘Get Out Of Jail’ card. The idea is that platinum, cobalt and other valuable elements are mined from asteroids and sent back to Earth. That’s despite that fact that we have yet to design a spacesuit glove that doesn’t tear astronauts finger nails out, have no method to protect against the effects of long terms weightlessness, nor exposure to solar radiation. Hacking back on NASA’s budget for the last 40 years might not have been such a good idea after all.

The ship in the image: the core of it - the containers and frame - I stole from someone else’s model… I’m fairly sure it was by avalon3d. I added detail to the frame (and I’m slightly annoyed with myself for putting the ship in shadow, having lovingly textured each of the containers… Oh well!). I stole the front-end of one of my own ships and (imaginatively) gave it a long skinny fuselage, ending in a Discovery-like propulsion unit.

The (really lovely) main asteroid with the tiny astronauts on top is by Starbase1 and can be downloaded from the resources at Foundation3d.com I retextured it to give a slightly dustier look, based on photographs of asteroids on various sites.

I have made my scene as busy with asteroids as it usual for scifi visualisations of our solar systems asteroid belt; in reality, of course, the average distance between any two asteroids is around a million kilometres and given their generally small size, you simply wouldn’t be able to see another asteroid whilst you busy mining one! This is why we have been able to happily send our probes out to investigate the outer planets without fear of them being trashed during their passage through the asteroid belt.

The scene was modelled and rendered in Cinema 4D. I’m going to skip my usual run through of the textures used as you can’t really see them anyway!

Post production - actually not as much as you might think, mostly blume and sharpening - was done in Photoshop. Most of the colour in the image came form using light objects coloured to match the background.

New Images & Gallery Updates - Sept 2012

I have been working on a few new book cover designs over the last month or so - both featuring spacecraft that I designed some time ago.

The first features my freighter; I built this model just over a year ago, the design is inspired by various craft from Gerry Anderson series - including Thunderbird 2, the moon shuttle (and its mother craft) from UFO and the superb Eagle from Space 1999. The Sikorsky Sky Crane was also an influence. The distinctive blue-and-white striped pain job is a direct steal from Chris Foss’s excellent cover from ‘The Early Asimov, Vol 1’.

Asteroid Mining - Special Delivery-thumb

The second image features the flyer that previously made a guest appearance in my September 2011 free wallpaper ‘preparing For Take Off’. In this new image you can see it’s slightly bizarre design much more clearly... The design of the flyer comes from two main sources; firstly, the space pod from series 3 of the 1960’s TV show ‘Lost In Space’ and secondly this piece of concept art for Homeworld.

Low Orbit Thumb

I have added both of these book cover designs as faux covers to the Spacecraft gallery - so please take a look. Happy

Do let me know - via Facebook - what you think!