"Asteroid Mining" for National Geographic Explorer's "Destination Space"


The problem with space travel is you run out of fuel as soon as you get off the Earth. So, why not set up a mining company to drill for water(H2O) in the many asteroids orbiting the Sun. The miner/tanker then separates out the water's hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2) for rocket fuel... and doubles as a refueling station in space. The feasibility of the concept is being studied by several commercial space corporations. Home Run Pictures was asked to create a two minute animation visualizing the scenario... with exterior and cockpit views of miner-tanker and prospector vehicles... for the National Geographic Explorer program “Destination Space.”

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The creation of this animation was a cooperative effort between a technically driven engineer and a creatively driven visualizer. Together the two disiplines can make for an extremely strong visualization of a concept. Drilling a hole an asteroid could easily have been shown as a rather dull excercise... but it's all in how you look at it. Computer animation techniques, because of the mixture of the technical and creative, is an excellent media for bringing engineering principles to life as visualizations. Home Run Pictures' creative director, Tom Casey, worked with engineers from California-based aerospace development company, SpaceDev, to come up with a dramatic animated view of the concept. Production campany for the National Geographic documentary was Rubin Tarrant Productions.


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