Spaceflight Insider

Visions of the road to Mars

A fleet of spacecraft in orbit above the planet Mars as envisioned by James Vaughan. Image Credit: James Vaughan / SpaceFlight Insider

A fleet of spacecraft in orbit above the planet Mars as envisioned by James Vaughan. Image Credit: James Vaughan / SpaceFlight Insider

No planet is more steeped in lore, legend, and romance than Mars. For SpaceFlight Insider’s illustrator James Vaughan, the Red Planet is a subject matter well suited for his unique style of photo-illustration. He spoke with us about how interest in Mars is increasing and how his work is racing to keep up

“We are learning so much, we’re getting these wonderful hi-res images of Mars,” explained Vaughan. “All of this is a great resource that I can put back into my pictures.”

A fleet of spacecraft in orbit above the planet Mars as envisioned by James Vaughan. Image Credit: James Vaughan / SpaceFlight Insider

Vaughan sees his purpose as being to keep the dream of humans traveling to Mars alive. Image Credit: James Vaughan / SpaceFlight Insider

However, with all of this interest in the Red Planet, it can be a challenge to keep the subject different and interesting.

“I want to keep a Flash Gordon flavor. Too much politics gets in and then it looks like Sesame Street or hippie communes with astronauts baking bread!” Vaughan chuckles.

A NASA rover carries two astronauts as they explore the surface of the Red Planet. Image Credit: James Vaughan / SpaceFlight Insider

A NASA rover carries two astronauts as they explore the surface of the Red Planet. Image Credit: James Vaughan / SpaceFlight Insider

Vaughan has been working to portray what a robust and well-funded vision of the future of space exploration would look like. His efforts to inspire the general public to keep the dream of Martian exploration alive as well as to encourage elected officials to fund it properly drive the artist to keep up-to-date about the latest imaging platforms and techniques.

“I am always learning. I am seeing more clearly how my fine-arts experience is a surprisingly good fit with the science and engineering. Art is an eloquent part of the formula of space exploration – and a vital element in explaining and selling aerospace.”

Descent! Crewed spacecraft prepare to land on the surface of the Red Planet in this image. Photo Credit: James Vaughan / SpaceFlight Insider

Descent! Crewed spacecraft prepare to land on the surface of the Red Planet in this image. Photo Credit: James Vaughan / SpaceFlight Insider

More of this artist’s work can be viewed here: James Vaughan Photo

 

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not, necessarily, reflect those of SpaceFlight Insider

 

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Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

Reader Comments

Looking great, indeed!

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