I decided to begin changing up my approach to these designs. After all, this thesis exploration is about displaying the strengths of a designer/architect, and how the versatility and creative aspect of approach design solutions can be beneficial in space design. To change this up a bit, I am no longer looking at this as low, medium, or high risk designs. That part will come later. I first started by approaching vehicle design by typically how humans respond to vehicles on earth. When you look at great sports cars and car concepts, the proportion, body lines, and overall silhouettes are what gives the car its essence.
I began by looking at things that had very distinct features, ones that could maybe lend themselves to being used as vehicles. I looked at angel fish, different tropical fish, shrimps, other arctic microbial, etc. These are chosen purely on the fact that they have very distinct lines, silhouettes,or structure. The easy part is redrawing these, but the magic truly happens when you have to begin to make these things mechanical. How can you combined aspects of previously known space crafts, along with natures design of these creatures, paired with the specific needs and functions of what Ceres will require. That is the challenge ahead for me.
As I said, it is easy to get the first part of redrawing, and capturing the essence of the creature in a knew aspect. My next step had to focus on merging this idea into a mechanical form. So what I am doing is taking essence of the creatures, and attempting to merge them into the essence of a space craft. Not an easy task. I think that if I had to start over, I would have iterated these out in a lot more variety, but for the sake of the project, I just wanted to keep it moving as I have a larger goal in mind for all of these individual component. I think that is also a wise thing to learn and develop on your own; knowing when to settle on what you have at that time. It would be easy to keep playing around with all kinds of ideas at this stage.
There is a recent program that I stumbled upon called "Alchemy". It is one that fits in great with how I am designing. It is a free program that tests how we can generate art. It has many random, chaotic drawing options that help release us from out typical creation habits. It also utilizes no way of coping or pasting, or either the use of undo or stepback. You must either really be concentrating or accept what you get out of it.
This is where I started my next step to the process, as well as beginning to consider some possibilities of how this thing might get around the planet. I already have a pretty good idea from designing the rover a few months ago. This is really a messy part of the design, and one that I ultimately ditched. I think it is important to show some failures, because at the end of the day it is about learning why something didn't work well, and knowing when to let it go.
I took some random generations that you see on the left and tried to think about them sectionally as they may be merged into the first fish iteration. The way I work here is a bit back and forth. I will start with a bit of perspective, jump back to section, or elevation. I didn't see any merit in this one, so I tried something else. I will talk about the reason why here in a bit.
So I ditched the first go, but ultimately for the better. I decided to look at the second arctic shrimp inspiration to work off of. I used another random generation I made in Alchemy to devise a section. This again, is really working back and forth in tandem, playing around to see how one view changes affect the others. You can see, I also added a human in to start considering how this thing is controlled, and what it can carry and transport, weather that may be people, cargo, or other machines. I think that this stage is really important to just get a feel of if this thing has some merit. Once you get the feeling that ok, this thing could blossom into something, well, you know you have hit something important. One reason I chose the shrimp inspiration was because it had these tentacle like leg things. The rover design ended up ditching mechanical legs, however that was a different kind of machine, one that would fly for long periods and then land and traverse much slower. I imagine this vehicle will be very amphibious in nature; being able to crawl and climb, but also to fly and land. Picture a bulldozer and an airplane.
The first question I looked at what was how does this thing get around. After the rover design, it was apparent that in the low gravity of Ceres, it would make most sense to use a propulsive element to travel around. Rather than robotic legs for actually moving around, I imagine that the legs would actually act as landers that could fold and unfold, depending on what the function consists of. Another thing to keep in mind, with the low amount of gravity, and the future space station being built, this craft could leave the planet and also be an orbiting craft that could travel back and forth.
One good thing about working digitally, is the ability to iterate many options in little, to no time at all. I drew generic landers, some aggressive, some compact, some sprawled, and within two types: sleek and bulky. This is really just aesthetic, but gives the craft a certain feel. And my goal is to retain the tentacle type feel.
Just to take a look at this progression: I iterated the shrimp type silhouette into a few options, then tried a few type of lander options. I ultimately decided on the sleek ones as they lend the more insect like feel. Next I really need to consider where the propulsive elements go, as well as how this thing opens up and allows people to get in. This craft will have one pilot and 3 passengers.
I feel like after this point in time, once you get the intuition that you can work within what you created, the guts and internal functions just kind of fall into place. I didn't iterate this very much, it just kind of worked out first try. If I had some more time, I would def see what else I could make happen, but this was a good intro to consider the human and their interaction with these machines. The real challenge is putting the elevations together, into a functioning layout, mainly to arrive at a rough perspective. Without the perspective to go off of, the generation of this into a model is quite difficult. This really comes down to just roughing in areas, fine tuning them, and ultimately carving in and out with value.
I found that even though I did not iterate any other interior configurations, that just from the section proving to work, made the modeling of the crew hatch and cockpit very seamless. I knew that using a 3 person hatch would be most interesting because of a few reasons. In vehicles on earth, we are used to having a pilot (driver) and 3 passengers. Although configuring 3 passengers together in this ways could be a way we travel in the future, even with autonomous crafts that need no pilots.
The pilots cockpit was a really interesting build. All I really did was modify an f-16 cockpit in sketchup and literally painted things how I wanted them to be. I knew that it would probably have some type of holographic display for docking onto another craft. What makes this thing cool is not only its mech-like qualities of landing with legs and flying like a jet, but being able to do this directly from Ceres to orbit. That is almost the equivalent of being able to take your car and drive it to the moon.
What started out with really looking at swimming type animals, and ultimately being inspired from some armor plated amphipod, quickly turned into a really fun process of rethinking transportation in other planets. I wish I had more time to design these type of gadgets, because who knows what stuff I could come up with if I applied some more iterations. But architecture is calling, and I really need to delve into thinking about human living which is my primary concern.