The Men Who Made Space Colonies Look Like Home

Veronique Greenwood, reporting for Discover Magazine:

The sun shafts down on a group of cocktail drinkers, as a woman in a white dress laughs at something her camel-coated companion has said and a bartender stands at ease, wearing a faint smile. Behind the revelers, a rolling landscape of red roofs recedes uncannily toward a glowing ring of sky. Above, freed from gravity’s clutch, a man on a bicycle rigged with orange sails glides across the crescent horizon.

Stumble across the paintings of Rick Guidice and Don Davis in some dark corner of the Internet one evening, and you might think they are pages from an old pulp magazine. They were in fact commissioned by NASA forty years ago to accompany scientific reports, fleshing out what seemed, at the time, a plausible future of colonies in Earth’s orbit.

I remember poring over these same images when I was a kid. They conjured up a brilliant future for humankind in space.