Friday, July 20, 2012

From Lunar Base Clavius to Tranquility Base

2012.06.29-IMG_4841July 20, 2012 marks the 43rd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. For many of us, however, the culmination of the US Space Program occurred back in April 1968, it was then that Stanley Kubrick released the amazing film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The movie was filled with icons of the space age: the Orion III Space Plane (which in 1968 was operated by Pan Am, but which today would probably be Virgin Galactic), TMA-1 (the Black Obelisk), the Discovery, and of course, HAL. 

I recently had the chance to see some of the original artwork (by Robert T. McCall)  from 2001: A Space Odyssey at the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum (in a behind the scenes conference room). The iconic images of the Orion III and the space station were amazing to see again after all these years. Most interesting was the painting of  Lunar Base Clavius, where the astronauts are holding what could be an iPad!


For those interested in the iconography of the space age, I can't let this opportunity to give a nod to one of the best books on the topic, Another Science Fiction: Advertising the Space Race, 1957-1962 by Megan Prelinger (2010).

For more look backs at the Apollo program, see here (and some related posts on the HAL 9000 computer).

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