jeudi 29 mars 2012

Prometheus : deep space cinema is back !

Around two years ago, I did a cinema post about Avatar as a visual revolution. Now early 2012, I just can't leave this space exploration blog without a word on one the most anticipated SF movies ever : Prometheus. This is nothing less than the return of Ridley Scott in the field of science fiction, with an adventure and experience that promises to be epic in scale and philosophically disturbing.
Prometheus tells the deep space expedition of a scientific spaceship to a planet where could await us unexpected answers on the origins of humanity.
The story has a connection to Alien (1979) but does explore a whole new universe around the concept of God and how worlds can be created. By the way, one of the scientific topics the movie will deal about is terraforming, which Kim Stanley Robinson is very familiar with. We can expect Prometheus to show us the darkest aspects of this God-like ability.
If not yet done, take a look at the aggressive teaser trailer of the film. And if you want to see more and don't care about spoilers, here is the full trailer.
But for something different, something special, for a smart glimpse at the future, visit the viral website of Alien/Prometheus' famous corporation Weyland :

Just a word about the picture above : we see the planet's surface from the dock bay of spaceship "Prometheus". As usual on DaVinci Mars Design, I show you an exploration rover! Just not sure this one is pressurized. Anyway, it has a nice 80's look that somehow takes us back to the good old designs from the times of Alien and Blade Runner where Prometheus takes its first roots.

How does this link us to Mars ? Well, Mars is not featured in Prometheus, but given the insane details of Ridley Scott's depiction of both human space technologies and alien environments, we will have the hell of an immersive travel in the depths of space in glorious sound and visuals, which is very rare in theatres. Though not Mars, this planet to be explored in the film might be a very interesting piece of alien ground, and for sure Mars fans will love the trip.

Prometheus premieres May 30th in France.

samedi 17 mars 2012

Mars500's virtual reality simulator

Mars500 experiment which took end on november 2011 was a simulation of 520 days alone for a crew of 6 men on a travel to Mars and back. The isolation reproduced most of the situations of inside the ship while the "outside scale" was recreated through a virtual reality software, with a view on the take off, the travel, the landing and works on Mars, and then the travel back home.
To know more about this virtual reality simulator made by NVidia and JCSI Group (Russia), check this page of NVidia, of see this Russian site with footage from the software.
And as usual on DaVinci, let's have a look at the visuals ! We here have a pressurized rover leaving its dock, a large digger, and 4 shots of the take off from Mars. I personally love the render of the orbital sequence, very immersive with its wide angle.
The top picture is a quick personal improvement of one of the shots. I've reached this night effect with TheGimp.

mercredi 14 mars 2012

IO9 : the weather on Mars

The excellent SF and science news blog IO9 has a very interesting article on the weather on Mars and what it would actually look like. The pictures (by artist Ron Miller) are really worth a look. Here is one, showing a coming dust storm, the kind able to cover the entire planet (except the very high volcanoes' summits). In Red Mars, Kim Stanley Robinson describes an amazing global storm that lasts 3 martian years, bringing darkness on most of the surface for around 6 earthly years...

Here is the IO9 article, dealing with much more than storms !