Thursday, 31 May 2012

Space fashions: comic book division

The Gold Key comic book Space Family Robinson not trumped the television series Lost in Space by introducing the concept of the Swiss Family Robinson years before Irwin Allen, it also let the readers know what the well-dressed 21st century teenager would be wearing.

Lots of ski pants, apparently.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Always something, isn't there?

A wonder machine of farming.  So, why does it take four men to operate it?

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Life in the year 2001

life in 2001

Apollo's arms

In the early 1970s, NASA designer Caldwell Johnson came up with this idea for using surplus Apollo equipment by equipping the CSMs with robot arms.
This study was cancelled; partly due to budget constraints, but mainly because it looked scary beyond all reason.

Electronic Car

I don't know which is cooler; the dashboard of the self-illuminating tarmac.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Transistor future

I don't know about you, but I've always regarded the transistor radio as a perfect inhabitant of Future Past.  Sure, it's horrible.  It's an ugly little plastic box, reception is terrible, the tiny speaker is painful to listen to and the programming is enough to drive you 'round the twist, but it's also a remarkable invention that suddenly puts contact with the entire world in the palm of your hand.

If you want a real image of progress, it's a Masai warrior listening to pop tunes on his tranny.

Extra luggage space for the shuttle

How to increase Shuttle payloads?  Add a bustle.

Flying Platform 1955

At least he isn't trying to skeet shoot from it.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Eros flyby 1966

A proposal in 1966 for a 527-day manned mission to fly by the asteroid Eros using an Apollo Command Module connected to a huge tin as the crew quarters.

Yes, it's just as daft as it sounds.

Micro Parasite Fighter

The US Air Force's attempt to turn a 747 into a fighter carrier to escort bombing mission.

I thought they gave up on this years ago.

Whitney Wolverine 22lr pistol

Because if you're going to live in Future Past, you need a Future Past handgun

Monday, 21 May 2012

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Single to the Moon, please

People sometimes forget just how ruthless the Cold War was.  Take this proposal from 1962.  Sure, NASA could land a man on the Moon, but getting him back?  That was another matter entirely.  Their solution?  Land a man on the Moon and have him live in a hut on the surface until a return craft could be built.

God help the poor volunteer if the brass forgot to include enough crossword puzzles.

Twenty-second sirloin

They'll be doing hot dogs next.
Mmm mm!  A sirloin steak ready for table in just 20 seconds just like Mother used to make–assuming that Mater was a BSc in electrical engineering.

Robocop 1924

I always get a bit of pleasure when I see this image of a robot policeman of 1924.  It's mine, actually–or rather it's Frank R Paul's, but the image I started with was half eaten by book worms, so I had to restore it pretty heavily.  Since then, it keeps showing up time and again until it's origin has been forgotten.

Ah, well.  The price of fame.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Ranger 12

The Ranger lunar probes that never were.

Rocket to the Stars

Paleofuture uncovers one of history's battier planetarium shows.


Chemistry sets today are pretty boring, but half a century ago they were chock full of the future.

I'd like to see someone roll out a kit with radioactive materials included just to watch the Nanny State's collective heads explode.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Digital immortality

Bring Marilyn Monroe back from the dead? Bad idea.  Bring her back via bad CGI?  Really bad idea.

Gemini on the Moon

A look at NASA's contingency plan to land a man on the Moon with a modified Gemini capsule.

I wonder if they expected the candidates to draw straws.

Conquering Outer Space

From the days when space travel was so in vogue that it was even included with chemistry sets.

And when chemistry sets were still fun.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Wednesday, 9 May 2012


Dark Roasted Blend looks at the weird, wonderful and gigantic world of tanks. 

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Sky Seaways

This is one of those ideas where the designer should take a step back so he'll notice that he has the cart jammed firmly in front of the horse.

Monday, 7 May 2012


The last Space Shuttle has made its final flight atop the specially modified 747 used to ferry it from landing filed to launch centre, but during the development stage, the Jumbo wasn't the only alternative.  Conroy Aircraft's idea was to use a twin-hulled aircraft made out of a pair of B-52 fuselages.

It's one of those schemes that keeps popping up.  Why?  I have no idea

Rescue glider boat

The rescue glider boat.  Why go for the simple and available solution when the complicated and impractical is at hand?

Advanced Styling

Retronaut looks at the Ford styling department of 1956 and their vision of the motor car of tomorrow

Friday, 4 May 2012

Magazines... of the FUTURE!

Paleofuture looks at 1987 and then forward to the day when we'd be getting all our magazines on floppy discs.

Floppy discs.  They were a storage medium?  Looked like the SAVE icons?  Went in the... Oh, never mind.

Slot machine doctor

Okay, this is an early version of the blood pressure machines you see in supermarkets and chemists, but "slot machine" doctor supplies a mental image I'd rather not have.

In the Moog

The Moog synthesizer is one of our favourite residence of Future Past and In the Moog highlights some of the more interesting outputs of the electronic muse.

Here's a sample.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Key Frame

Farside chat

In later missions, they'd just smash the S-IVB into the Moon
Here was an interesting idea: To keep the Apollo spacecraft in communication with Earth while on the far side of the Moon, use the S-IVB booster as an impromptu relay satellite.

Waste not, want not.

All hail electricity!

In connection with our editorial of this month, we show on this page a monument dedicated to the age in which we are living. Electricity, more than anything else, has made our present civilization what it is, and if this civilization should be wiped out by war or some other cataclysm, nothing would remain to tell what Electricity did for the race during the past century.
Hugo Gernsback never believed in doing anything by halves, so to show our appreciation for the wonders of electricity, he proposed building a 1,000-foot tall concrete statue to commemorate moving electrons.

Never mind how he expected to pour that much concrete at one time, I'm interested to see whether the interior would finish curing before the outer surface rots and crumbles.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

It's like this... But isn't

How do you explain something that nobody's ever seen before?  It's like trying to describe an accordion without using your hands.

Shooting the Space Age

I love this shot.  Despite the fact that Neil Armstrong didn't have a viewfinder on his Hasselblad and had to guess at what he was trying to frame, this advert captures the spirit of the Space Age beautifully.

The Integrated Program Plan

Here's a prime example of what could have been.  NASA's Integrated Program Plan was director Thomas Paine vision for making America's manned presence in space permanent rather than sporadic.  The idea was to turn space travel into an integrated system using modular parts to build spacecraft, tugs, stations and fledgling colonies on the Moon and Mars.

Sadly, politics meant that it never left the drawing board.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Tanbo R-1

Paleofuture looks at a pair of 1980's robot waiters that played disco music for the customers.

That's all very impressive, but could they BOOGEY?


I miss Apollo.  Here's a proposal from those halcyon days when it seemed like a good idea to send an Unmanned Lunar Rover Vehicle (ULRV) to the Moon to rendezvous with the Apollo astronauts and then follow them around like a puppy.

It's both ambitious and charming.