Some great examples of retro-futurist "envisionings"
The site: http://ru-2061.livejournal.com/ is devoted to a drawing contest where artists imagine a planet Mars colonized by a thriving Soviet space program in the year 2061.
Not all of the work is good, but some is very good. The second round of the contest, "The Stone Belt" seems to have attracted more talent than the first.
The page is in Russian, but Chrome translates it pretty well.
Russian art is always fascinating to me because the default color palette is just a little different from the American one. It's hard to put my finger on it, but if you look at, say images taken by Russian satellites:
the blues are shifted a bit toward green and the reds shifted a bit toward orange, in comparisons to the NASA photos which are usually "color-corrected" so that the blues, reds, and greens are fully saturated.
The green ones are safe. The yellow ones are predicted to burn up in the Earth's atmosphere. The red one's would cause devastation if they were to hit the Earth. Note how many red ones there are by the end of the clip.
This is Mars Rovers Spirit and Opportunity's grandfather, of sorts:
"In November 1970, more than a year after the United States' Apollo 11 mission, Soviet engineers sent Lunokhod 1 to the moon aboard a probe named Luna 17. Powered by solar cells and equipped with radio antennas, cameras, and a dust-sampling scooper, Lunokhod 1 had the appearance of an otherworldly creature."
It was the first robot on another celestial body.
And it's still there.
NASA has a server called arc.nasa.gov (password-protected) with a subdomain at settlement.arc.nasa.gov which contains a number of odd things, including an archive of artists' renderings of proposed earthling settlements in space. The proposals are basically for big round greenhouses, rotating to simulate gravity via centrifugal force - not so different than what has been proposed in a lot of science fiction in movies and on TV.
Somehow I'm comforted that there are people making plans for this kind of thing, even though it's discouraging to see how so much of the optimism of the 60s and 70s (regarding space travel as well as almost everything else) never went anywhere.
The word "Astronaut" comes from the Greek for "Star Sailor" and was coined by author Neil Jones in 1930. It is used for space-faring people in the U.S. or on American missions.
The word "Cosmonaut" is used to refer to Russian astronauts and comes from the Greek for "Universe (Cosmos) Sailor"
While the Chinese government uses the words "astronaut" and "cosmonaut" many English-language media use the word "Taikonaut", from the Chinese word for "Space" ("taikong") along with the Greek for "Sailor" ("naut").
It seems the rule is that any nation that sends people into space needs their own word for what to call its space-pilots. Now that India is in the game (first flight scheduled for 2015), they need a word as well.
The Sanskrit for "Space" (or "Sky") is "Vyoma" and so their word is "Vyomanaut" (vee-OHM-uh-naut) according to the Indian Space Research Organisation.
The Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona in Tucson has an impact effect calculator that gives estimates of what would happen if a extraterrestrial body were to strike the earth. You need to know lots of information in order to use the calculator, such as the size, velocity, and density of the object, but the results are quite specific, such as how likely it would be that trees within 1,000 miles of the impact would ignite.