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Almost There by Drell-7 Almost There by Drell-7
With days to go before the critical Mars Orbit Insertion burn (the first time the main engine will be used) the 2 Argosy ships have deployed their unmanned Probes, and the multideck isolation shroud has been peeled away to reveal each craft's lander. In the next few hours, both ships will turn so that their NERVA nuclear engines are facing into the direction of flight, and their crews will begin the process of bringing the reactors up to temperature, and going through the meticulous checklist to prepare to enter in to orbit around Mars.
Modeled and rendered in Lightwave 10, with post work in Photoshop
Thanks for taking a look!
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:iconeagle1division:
Eagle1Division Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Hah, so you have to warm the reactors and all before firing. I guess that makes sense. I'm going to be writing sci fi involving something very similar to this, do you know where I can get more information, not so much on design, but on the procedures of such a mission?
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:icondrell-7:
Drell-7 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Professional General Artist
Try this link: [link]

It may not be as detailed, but it will give you a place to start following threads...
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:icondrell-7:
Drell-7 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Professional General Artist
Oh, and also this one: [link]
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:iconeagle1division:
Eagle1Division Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Many thanks! :D
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:iconrobcaswell:
RobCaswell Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2011  Professional General Artist
Great to see it continuing. Stuff's about to get really interesting, huh? The landing and exploration phase? What do you have built up for models on that?

I like the lighting here. The subtle rusty rimlight on the "darkside" is just perfect. Nuanced realism ;)

So you think you're going to be able to complete the journey on this one instead of getting stranded at the target like poor Leonov? ;p
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:icondrell-7:
Drell-7 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2011  Professional General Artist
The MEM is built, I just have to tweak some textures. The main landscape is done-I need to create some "hero" rock formations. (If you recall Clarke's "Transit of Earth" you'll see some familiar sights...) I've got a rover design that needs to be built, so you may only see it from the distance...The suits are the biggest unknown, at this point.

As long as I can come up with a reasonably dramatic composition and light solution, I'll illustrate the whole trip, including the Venus fly-by. I'm kinda looking forward to the rendezvous of the mission ships with the space base back in Earth orbit, at the end...
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:iconabakon:
AbaKon Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2011  Professional Writer
Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
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:icondrell-7:
Drell-7 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2011  Professional General Artist
Just gotta slow down! I hope these nuclear brakes work...
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:iconkaranua:
karanua Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Getting close. Are you going to use aerobraking for orbital insertion?
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:icondrell-7:
Drell-7 Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Professional General Artist
No, this whole plan dates from'69 and '70, before aerobraking was considered a viable technique. They do it the brut-force way, by firing those big 'ole nuclear engines. This study by vonBraun and company was a variant of a study the previous year by Boeing, but vonBraun trimmed the mass by almost half, simply by putting the ships into elliptical orbit instead of circular orbit around Mars! Here's a link to a very good synopsis of the plan: [link]
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:iconeagle1division:
Eagle1Division Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Hah, I remember Robert Zubrin railing against a Venus-flyby in The Case for Mars. I think he makes a pretty good point against it, actually...

But this early on, without aerobraking OR in-situ rescource utilization (you know, making propellant from Martian resources), I guess it makes a lot more sense.
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:icondrell-7:
Drell-7 Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2011  Professional General Artist
I've always thought the Venus fly-by was asking for trouble--you're all ready tempting fate by being vulnerable to major solar activity for so long, and it seems to me that the situation would just be made worse by flying by Venus. I've never worked the numbers, I must admit, to see how much time is shaved off the Mars to Earth leg by the maneuver.
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:iconeagle1division:
Eagle1Division Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
No time is shaved off - it actually takes considerably longer. The purpose is to save a small amount of Delta-Vee :P
(By Oberth effect, engine burn low in Venus' gravity well, I would suppose)
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:icondrell-7:
Drell-7 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2011  Professional General Artist
Wow. Seems like a lot of risk just to drop a couple of probes, and take some pictures.
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:iconeagle1division:
Eagle1Division Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
That's for sure. If only In-Situ resource utilization was a popular idea back then, we might be pushing out to Saturn by now with Gasdynamic Mirror Fusion engines :P
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:iconkaranua:
karanua Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks very much indeed for the link, been trying to get some decent data on several projects for quite some time now but almost all are available on the site you linked me to including the schematics that I needed. Its an extraordinary resource for anyone interested in the evolution of the space sciences, thankyou again :)
By the way have you read the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson? Its a hard scifi set that I think you'd enjoy. I'm trying to get a design together of the colony vessel Ares from the first volume "Red Mars" there being several contradictions (spatially) in the book as to where certain sections are located so I'm just having to use a little artistic license to fill in the gaps. By a modelling exercise I don't mean a computer model, I'd like to build a miniature.
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:icondrell-7:
Drell-7 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2011  Professional General Artist
I'm glad it was useful. I love that site! If you don't know it, there is another I think you'd like, called Beyond Apollo [link]

I love Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy! Great, thoughtful stuff. I have played around with some designs of Ares in the past, trying to take clues from the text. I'd love to see what you come up with!
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:iconkaranua:
karanua Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
All I've got at the moment is a growing collection of 1/72nd shuttle main tanks, I'm going to need a lot more before I can even begin on the Ares as the whole ship is made from repurposed tanks. The central zero-g core being seven in rosette pattern all linked to form the keel of the ship. Like you say yourself the text does have some references but the main areas contradict themselves, CJ (my wife) recommended me contact Robinson to see if there was any drawings worked from that didn't appear in the hardbound edition we have. It may come down to that yet as I don't really feel justified taking so much "artistic license" on such a famous ship. Thanks for the link to beyond apollo, I had that one already from when trying to get good drawings to make my late son a model bernal sphere for a school presentation he did.
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