"This was a commission piece where it can be viewed as a shore on a hypothetical terraformed Titan. There is something wonderful in that analogy of the human race as curious playful children branching out into the universe."
"Saturn hovers above the Titan cloud tops in this view of the system from space. Titan orbits more or less in Saturn's equatorial plane, so the famous ring system is always seem virtually edge on from Titan. This image was produced by hand in Photoshop."
"The Huygens probe is about to make contact with the thick, orange atmosphere of Titan, having been released from the Cassini mother probe some time earlier. Saturn is seen in the distance with the phase as it was at the time of the encounter. This artwork was rendered entirely by hand in Photoshop."
"Done shortly after the Voyager encounters, oils on illustration board. The painting uses similar techniques as Chesley Bonestell, and portrays the closest one can actually come to seeing a Saturn in a Titanian blue sky, as Bonestell painted in the 1940s."
"I envisioned this piece during a flight to Europe at 36,000 feet over the North Atlantic. After watching dramatic dusk-to-dawn lighting changes over the four-hour portion of the flight that we were in relative darkness, I was especially taken by the heavy cloud-cover being lit at a very low angle by the early morning sun. The scene was one that just had to be painted with Saturn floating above the horizon.
Of course, artistic license was taken in this piece, as the stars would not be seen in such numbers or brightness as I have depicted in the scene."
"Saturn as seen from the hydrocarbon cloud tops of its largest moon, Titan. These clouds hid Titan's real face for centuries, until the 14th of January, 2005, when the Huygens probe descended through the thick cloud layer."
"The Huygens probe descends rapidly through Titan's upper atmosphere. The brilliant plume is caused by extremely high temperatures due to the intense friction between the probe and the thin air surrounding it."
"Ever since I saw Chesley Bonestell's painting of Saturn in a clear, blue titanian sky, I've been captivated by this image. As we now know, Saturn would likely not be visible from Titan's surface due to a thick hydrocarbon haze that enshrouds the moon, so I tried to imagine where Saturn may yet be seen against an Earthlike sky. My thought is that this "sweet spot" may be high above Titan's surface, near the upper layers of the hydrocarbon haze. And there we find Saturn in a rich blue sky! I took some artistic license with the inclination of Titan's orbit by raising it slightly above the Saturn's equator to better show the circular nature of Saturn's rings."
"Chesley Bonestell, the father of space art, did a seminal painting in 1948 called 'Saturn as seen from Titan' which inspired a whole generation of space scientists, engineers and astronomers. It showed a rocky, icy surface with a beautiful ringed Saturn through a sapphire sky. Unfortunately, Titan was later found to be cloaked in opaque clouds. Space artist Ron Miller postulated that there must be an area above the cloud layer of Titan where Saturn could still be seen."
"Here I show the Huygens probe descending via parachute through the dense atmosphere of Titan. I know that Saturn cannot be seen from the ground, but I assume that at some height the atmosphere must clear enough to give a glimpse of the Ringed Planet. I show Saturn with the rings casting a shadow across its face and with the same phase that the planet had during the actual Huygens encounter. The image was put together entirely in Photoshop using a combination of hand-drawn elements (e.g., the probe and parachute, Saturn, the sky) and photographic elements (clouds)."
"Represents my efforts to prepare original Huygens mosaics for use as a texture map for a 3D rendering of the region, using the same map as a displacement map and assuming lighter regions were higher. The Huygens probe was also modeled and rendered, for an earlier animation project. Extensive hand painting in Photoshop was applied across the entire image."
"Here we see the Huygens probe at a later stage in its descent than is seen in "The Quiet Sea." Ground features are now visible, and there is a steady rain of hydrocarbons. I did this image many years before the encounter -- it so happens that (as far as I am aware) there in fact was no storm during the descent!"
"I envisioned Titan as having a very stormy and wind-blown surface with a very rough and scoured landscape. From research reports I determined that the colors should be reddish-orange with dark, heavy clouds."
Probably my most perplexing problem was trying to determine where the Huygens' camera landing light was located.
No attempt was made to show Saturn in the piece since even without the heavy cloud cover the planet would not have been visible at the time from the chosen landing site."
"The leftmost of these three frames shows a radar image of Titan's surface, returned by the Cassini RADAR instrument. Green lines show the field of view in the next two frames, which were generated in Terragen and then hand painted in Photoshop. The center view shows what the surface would look like during the hypothesized "methane monsoon." The view at far right shows what the site might look like today, complete with parallel dunes of ice-sand or organic material."
"While seeing the Sun would be possible from Titan's surface, Saturn would be difficult to see during the day on Titan, when sunlight scattered in the atmosphere would be brighter than the planet. Saturn would be easier to see during the Titan night from near the equator, and best when it is high overhead. This piece shows Saturn in the sky for aesthetic appeal."
"This image shows a possible vision of the surface of Titan, based on current understanding of data from the Cassini-Huygens mission. The scene is dark -- the clouds are thick on Titan, so little light gets through, and of course the Sun is 10 times further away than it is from Earth. Rivers of hydrocarbons are seen, as well as hydrocarbon rain. I started the artwork with the landscape software Terragen. The sky came from a mixture of photography, the 3D software Bryce, and Photoshop. The rest of the image was hand-painted in Photoshop using a graphics tablet."
"The surface of Titan is an especially appealing subject given that so little is known about it. This means that, in the place of laboring under the constraints of what's known, is the opportunity for illustrating what might be. In this image I sought to illustrate an extremely cold world composed of a soft hydrocarbon "soil" that has accrued over millennia of methane precipitation. Lakes of liquid methane ripple under a gentle breeze. My choice of colors is likely far more brilliant and saturated than the real thing, and while there is little reason to believe that the disk of the Sun, or Saturn itself, would be visible from Titan's surface, I added them anyway to illustrate Titan's great distance from the Sun, its relationship to Saturn, and for the pure aesthetic delight Saturn brings to a space art rendering."
"This is a depiction of an imaginary lake on Titan. Titan is the only celestial body in our solar system where we think we have seen open bodies of liquid. If true, these lakes of hydrocarbons have for a long time been Titan's unique secrets. "
"Commissioned by Time-Life books in 1985, early in the Cassini mission development phase, the Huygens probe is shown at splashdown on Titan. Titan was then thought to have a planet-wide ocean of ethane, which rained from the cloud-covered skies, punctuated only with crater rims of water ice."
"This painting imagines the surface of Titan with icy mountains, hydrocarbon lakes, and methane icebergs. In the foreground are some imagined 'ice towers' - these are created by steam from residual heat from deep within the crust. The skies are said to be orange in color, I still think it is interesting to see what one thought it might have looked like before Huygens landed on Titan. The piece was done in acrylics."
"This piece depicts an early concept for a Titan probe. The probe deploys a flare below so that the craft can image the surface on the way down. Done in the early seventies, the study was working under the assumption that light levels on the surface of Titan were too low for imaging without some help. (This was a little before CCD imaging)."
"An advanced blimp probe surveys polar lakes on Saturn's largest moon, Titan. Various blimps and balloons have been studied as ways of scrutinizing large areas of the Mercury-sized moon. In this version, a buoyant probe drops sampling canisters to examine Titan's organic-rich soils. Painting originally done for Astronomy magazine."
"This work is from my 2004 book with Sir Patrick Moore, '50 Years in Space.' I'm delighted that my artistic imaginings about Titan seem to be proving more accurate all the time: clouds, a rugged, mountainous landscape here, a dark lake there, volcanoes and (maybe?) geysers."
"The idea for this image came from the Cassini images of Titan showing clouds forming near the moon's equator on 27 September 2010. Carolyn Porco and Anthony Del Genio from the Cassini Imaging Team provided invaluable details to complete this piece. The information they provided such as the orientation of the spacecraft, make-up of the atmosphere, colors and textures gave me the details that I just couldn't have gleamed from the initial raw images."
"I originally painted this, in acrylics, early in 2010, having seen reports of methane rain on the Cassini website. I knew that radio bursts had been detected too, so wondered whether there actually could be lightning and asked Carolyn Porco, who said it hadn't been seen but that didn't mean there couldn't be any. Then last week I saw the report of rainstorms on Titan [March 17, 2011 news release], so sent this image! I had to use artist's license to show Saturn through a brief gap in the clouds."
David A. Hardy is European Vice President of the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA).