Tuesday, June 26, 2012

NASA’s most adorable spaceship models

Scrolling down the entirety of my Tumblr likes in search of something rebloggable, I found this collection of spaceship model pics originally posted at Wired. I’ve always been a sucker for anything cute (plus points if it is geeky), and seeing these models again drew out a little squeal from me. I wish I could acquire local likenesses—I care not if they’re all cheap or twee copies! I think they’ll be perfect for my Barrow Jane. :p

Quoting Wired: “From lunar landers and rovers to satellites space stations, NASA's engineers built tiny replicas and concept representations that will melt your heart.” They did, oh gosh. Such intense cuteness is hard to disregard, but yeah, with NASA’s bigger accolades, that’s only expected. Anyway, here they are (photos and captions from Wired.)

apollo-lander-1963 Apollo Lunar Lander 1963
The design for the Apollo lunar excursion module went through several stages, some cuter than others. The image above shows the lander at peak cuteness. Even without the miniature astronaut, fake moon rock and starry sky, this scale model would elicit motherly coos from space geeks. This concept was known as a "bug."

apollo-lunar-excursion-model-moon-1964 Apollo Lunar Lander 1964
By 1964 the design of the lunar excursion module had entered another phase of adorability. This model almost looks like it has eyes and ears and is afraid of the surface of the moon.

mercury_capsule_shape_b_1958 Mercury Capsule
The Mercury capsule design above, called "shape B," was fairly close to the final design of the real capsule. This loveable little 1958 model shows how the astronaut would be positioned inside, including the individually fitted couch.


space-station-early-concept-1966 Space Station Concept
Early concepts for a space station also resulted in super-cute models. The one shown above from 1963 is probably our favorite, but the one  from 1966 has a tiny astronaut doll in it.

viking_lander_1973 Viking Lander
This little model of a Viking lander, shown here at NASA's Langley Research Center in 1973, is almost as cute as the engineer pretending to tend to it as he poses for the photo.

hypothetical-nuclear-propulsion Nuclear-Powered Spacecraft
This 1959 model of a piloted nuclear-powered spacecraft looks like a gumball machine or some kind of game. Posing it hovering above a fake extraterrestrial surface with Earth in the background seems almost calculated specifically to enhance the ship's cuteness.

orbiting_solar_observatory_1962 Orbiting Solar Observatory
One of NASA's top scientists, Nancy Roman, poses in 1962 with a little model of the Orbiting Solar Observatory. Roman looks like your favorite science teacher combined with your doting grandmother, and is definitely cuter than the model. Roman had her hand in many important satellite projects, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the Cosmic Background Explorer.

apollo-lander-1961Apollo Lunar Lander 1961
Just like the wooden toys your parents probably played with, the early lunar excursion model shown above is adorably simplistic. In some ways it might even be cuter than the more advanced models at the beginning of this gallery.

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