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The Rümker is one man’s vision of space exploration
When humans discover new planets, they’ll need wheels. Why not these?
Last week scientists discovered yet another Earth-like planet that has the potential to support life, but because it orbits a star some 4.2 light years away, it’s a bit difficult to know for certain.
In billions of years’ time our sun will run out of energy and collapse in on itself, and if we haven’t already destroyed Earth by then, exploring these new worlds is going to be a tiny bit necessary. And when our descendants get there, they’re going to need something to drive.
Enter Frédéric Le Sciellour, creator of all kinds of futuristic illustrations.One of his most recent collections – published back in April – is ‘The Rümker’: the stupendous space exploration vehicle pictured above. Named after a mountain on the Moon, Le Sciellour is quick to point out that the design isn’t 100 per cent realistic, and is more akin to something you’d find in a sci-fi movie.
As such, his inspiration for the project comes from a hypothetical future where the human race needs to find a new home. The vehicle itself is based on a Caterpillar 797 (an American dumper truck) because, as Le Sciellour explains: “That vehicle gave me the impression that it can go everywhere without problems.” Solid logic.
13 metres long and 6 metres tall, the Rümker would weigh around 80 tonnes and would need a mothership capable of hyperspeed in order to reach distant worlds. Some studies suggest that solar sail technology could provide a solution to this, um, minor obstacle in just a couple of hundred years.
Despite its size, none of the space inside the vehicle goes to waste. Taking a leaf out of the International Space Station’s book, the Rümker has compact areas for piloting and sleeping, as well as a lab for conducting experiments. There’s no entertainment room though: venturing into uncharted realms of the universe leaves little time for R&R…
Regardless, it looks incredible and appears more than capable of tackling alien terrain. Equipped with four sets of humungous tank tracks, it might be even more versatile than a Unimog. And that’s saying something.
Images: Frédéric Le Sciellour