Sunday, May 07, 2023

Cinematic 3D Space Simulations

Online astronomy has now entered the space age. Thanks to advances in online 3D modeling articles on the web can now be illustrated with amazing cinematic 3D animations.

One recent example of this can be viewed in Le Figaro's article Starship, to the Moon, Mars and Beyond .... This introduction to Space X's Starship rocket is accompanied by a fantastic 3D simulation of an actual Starship launch. 

SpaceX's Starship spacecraft is a fully reusable two-stage-to-orbit heavy-lift launch vehicle. It is intended to be the successor to the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles, and will be capable of carrying both crew and cargo to Earth orbit and, as the Le Figaro article suggests, to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Le Figaro's 3D animation shows the launch of a Starship and the relanding of both the 'Super Heavy' rocket booster and the second-stage 'Starship' rocket.  

Another great example of astronomical 3D modeling is RTBF's How the James Webb Telescope Opens the Gateway to the Stars, which includes a truly impressive 3D animated illustration of NASA's newest space telescope. As you scroll through the beginning of this online article a 3D model illustrates how the telescope's solar panels, heat shield and 6.5m diameter mirror were unfurled in space. Information windows are also used in this 3D simulation to explain the purpose of each of these components and to explain how the telescope actually works. 

ZDF's Mission Artemis also includes some amazing 3D illustrated animations. ZDF's interactive introduction to the Artemis mission includes 3D models of the Earth, the Moon, Mars and even the Gateway Space Station.

NASA's Artemis program will build a Lunar Gateway space station which could be used to establish a permanent home base on the Moon and to launch human missions to Mars. The Lunar Gatway Station will be the first space station in orbit around the moon. It will serve as a communication hub, science laboratory, and habitation module for astronauts. The station will also be used as the staging point for human missions to the Moon and hopefully in the future as a staging point for NASA's Deep Space Transport manned missions to Mars.

ZDF's introduction to the Artemis program includes an animated 3D simulation of an Orion transport module docking with the Lunar Gateway Station. It also shows the location of the Shakleton Crater at the Moon's South Pole, where a future Moon base station could be built.

Germany's Zeit newspaper has also created an amazing 3D space simulation to model and illustrate the destruction of the Iridium-33 satellite in 2009.

On Feb 10th 2009 a malfunctioning Soviet-era satellite smashed into Iridium-33 at ten times the speed of a flying bullet. The crash shattered both satellites and turned them into two clouds of debris containing more than 1,700 pieces of space junk. Even now, 13 years later, that debris is still orbiting the Earth, and makes up just a tiny part of the garbage that is now littering Earth's near space.

The 3D modelled simulation in the article Space Junk: Our Garbage is Space is used to help illustrate the growing problem of space debris and the danger that it creates to other space missions. The article also includes a 3D visualization of the millions of pieces of space debris now in low Earth orbit, in medium Earth orbit and further out in geo-stationary orbit around the Earth.

No comments: