pod

Arthur C Clarke Style Personal Space Pod

I don’t have much spare time at the moment, so in what time I do have I’ve been picking up partially completed projects and trying to finish them off...

A project that I started in 2011 (and which was supposed to be a quick and simple modelling exercise) was to realise the original space pod design from Arthur C Clarke’s short stories of the 1950’s and 60’s. Most people know ACC’s space pod concept as realised in 2001: A Space Odyssey, however the design as described in his short stories such as ‘Who’s There?’ and ‘Summertime on Icarus’ is much more of a stubby cylinder.

Clarke-style Spacesut Pod

I first came across Arthur’s short scifi stories when some were included in a (British) comic I read (and which included some fantastic accompanying illustrations - I would love to know who did them). Later as a young teen, I found two collections of ACC’s short stories in the school book shop. The books included his “The Other Side of the Sky” and “Venture to the Moon” series of stories. ACC imagined that much of the space station building that would occur in the 1970’s (!!!) onwards would essentially require a tiny spaceship with arms - for manoeuvrability and also because spacesuit gloves have many issues for astronauts.

This was the future I expected to grow up in....

Sadly, ACC entirely missed the fact that transistors would quickly replace vacuum tubes and make the need for space stations redundant - they would be replaced by purpose specific satellites. The geostationary orbit that ACC described for space stations and satellites in a 1945 technical paper is still sometimes called the Clarke Orbit.

This image was modelled and rendered entirely in Cinema 4D, the Earth was created (as ever) with using Michael Welters ‘Atmosphere’ plug-in. There was a tiny bit of Photoshop post-production.

In terms of style I have tried to bridge ACC’s description with the production style of 2001: A Space Odyssey, including the lack of background stars. The girder is red, of course, because the bare girders of the under-construction space station we see in 2001 are red. Happy

The pod’s combined camera and lights module, fitted to the top of the “helmet” is a little in-joke: Without the strong sunlight and shadows it looks just like Wall-E Happy