Mars needs

Mars to Stay‘, the ‘proposal that astronauts sent to Mars for the first time should stay there indefinitely, both to reduce mission cost and to ensure permanent settlement of Mars’. Lots of concept art and chest-beating at MarsArtists. See also The Mars Society. Beyond Apollo (‘space history chronicled through missions and programs that didn’t happen’) has a large collection of imagery and information about NASA’s Design Reference Mission 1.0 from 1993. Delve into the stew of acronymns and you’ll find a fully realised plan for getting a man to the moon in 2009, following three unmanned payloads timed to arrive in Autumn 2008. These would include a small nuclear reactor, which would be unloaded and installed: ‘The rover would place the reactor within a crater about 500 meters from the lander. The crater’s upraised rim and distance would help to protect the landing site from radiation the reactor would produce after start-up.’

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The reactor would power a fuel factory, ‘where liquid hydrogen would be exposed to martian carbon dioxide in the presence of a nickel or ruthenium catalyst, yielding liquid methane and water’, in order to build a store of raw materials for the arrival of the first astronauts. The six-person crew would be in for a 600-day mission, with a vast array of back-up plans and automated fail-safes set in place before their arrival in the event of any problems (the cost and complexity of which is the reasoning behind the ‘Mars to Stay’ lobby).

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Other things. James Medcraft has produced a photographic series called ‘Bible Exposition‘, looking at the New Songdo City, South Korea (pdf brochure). ‘Built using local products from the neighbouring city of Incheon; a life sized Noah’s ark made from brown glass bottles, inflatable models, fibre glass and plastic trees, these film-set-like scenes emit a mixture of superficiality and sincerity.’ Unfortunately, the Expo was hit by a typhoon with predictably apocalyptic results (the latter photographs from Cesar Harada).

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‘Inside your mind, subconscious judgements about your surroundings are made in real time. Do you feel safe? Does the area you are in seem unique? Does it appear wealthy, clean or even energetic?’ Place Pulse, an experiment in place perception, dubbed ‘hot or not’ for cities (a designation that ought to make the newly youth-obsessed RIBA pay attention). Via The Pop-Up City. Related: Chicago Screenshots is a fine single idea tumblr, presenting giant-size film stills from some classic cinematic depictions of Chicago architecture and street life. Recommended.

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The Great Global Treasure Hunt on Google Earth. Bring back Kit Williams / SF Girl by Bay, a crafty weblog / the Vintage Roadside flickr photostream / polaroids by Tarkovsky at Bourbakisme / normal / photographs by John Kilar, cultures counter and conventional. He also has a tumblr / @plsj, a tumblr. Which leads us to: blind / A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave / Time is Galleons / The RX / Forgotten Antiquities / Timidly Primitive / Disordered Bits of Knowledge / Friday Notes, a tumblr by Timothy Hull.

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Justin Mckinley’s design blog / Six Sided Strange, a project by Jason Nelson / San Rocco is a beautiful magazine with a Five Year Plan / the Guardian has a Crossword Blog / Taschen has a lavish new edition of The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm / an exhibition of the work of Samuel John Peploe / Margaret Howell walks the River Lea, accompanied by a photography exhibition by Jason Orton and Philipp Ebeling.

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Polaroid Cupcake, a weblog with a cinematic slant / Grayarea, a weblog about architecture and landscape / archiclog, an architecture-focused weblog / The Merry Bobbins, more modern craft / art n parcel, the best of packaging design / it’s the end of the Obscure Store / brush up on everything with a House of Commons Library briefing paper / we have surely linked Moonbase Central before – ‘space toys of the Sixties’.

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A final reminder about our back issue special offer. We’ll run it for the rest of the month and by then all the early issues will probably have gone, so act swiftly.

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