New York City Under 5 Alien Skies
The New York skyline... on Earth.Nickolay Lamm, StorageFront.com
The plethora of Earth doomsday movies this season shows us all kinds of landscapes of a far future post-Armageddon. Because the Manhattan skyline is so iconic, New York City is often the backdrop for these implausible imaginary futures.
Earlier flicks have submerged NYC ("Artificial Intelligence," 2001), turned it into an arid pile of trash ("Wall-E," 2008), flooded the city with lava ("Disaster Zone: Volcano in New York," 2006) or iced it over in instant glaciation ("The Day After Tomorrow," 2004, and 2012 "Ice Age," 2011)
With a similar artistic license, space artist Nickolay Lamm has teamed up with astrobiologist M. Browning Vogel to create a fanciful set of illustration of the New York City skyline against skies of the solar system’s planets. We won’t worry about the planet habitability that would have been a prerequisite for erecting the skyscrapers; rather we’ll take a Twilight Zone-ish parallel universe look at alternative spacescapes that would make us nostalgic for the blue skies of Earth.
New York on Mercury.Nickolay Lamm, StorageFront.com
Did you hear about the NYC restaurant on Mercury? Great place, but no atmosphere.
This view shows the glare of the sun from Mercury, which is nearly ten times brighter than seen from Earth. A blast of solar wind continually strips the planet of any atmosphere that might form. The solar wind interacts with Mercury’s magnetic field to blast columns of dust and charged particles up into the atmosphere, seen as a haze above the skyline.
The thick atmosphere of Venus chokes New York.Nickolay Lamm, StorageFront.com
Due to continuous volcanic activity, Venus’ thick carbon dioxide atmosphere contains clouds of sulfuric acid. The sun never shines under perpetually cloudy skies that obscure much of the NYC skyline. Venus lost its oceans billions of years ago, leaving behind a bone-dry basaltic terrain of flowing lava and large impact craters. The Statue of Liberty sits on a sea of lava.
NYC on Mars.Nickolay Lamm, StorageFront.com
The NYC skyline is covered in orange talcum power-sized dust, under a perpetually orange atmosphere. Mars’ atmosphere has an oxidizing chemistry that converts the iron on its surface into various forms of rust. Strong convective currents in the atmosphere also stir up frequent dust storms that howl across the skyscrapers.
New York sandwiched between the layers of Jupiter's skies.Nickolay Lamm, StorageFront.com
Jupiter has no solid surface because it is a giant globe of primeval hydrogen and helium. If NYC could float in the atmosphere, like the cloud city Bespin in "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" (1980), it could be placed at an altitude where the atmosphere has a similar air pressure to Earth’s atmosphere at the surface, as well as balmy temperatures. However the reducing chemistry that would burnish any metal surface, including that of the Statue of Liberty. In this view, NYC is nestled between Jupiter’s clouds of water, ammonia and sulfurous gases that sometimes converge into powerful thunderstorms. Above the skyline hangs a yellow haze of hydrocarbons.
Neptune's atmosphere rips up NYC.Nickolay Lamm, StorageFront.com
Neptune contains a considerable fraction of methane, giving the air a cyan tint. Occasional clouds of methane and bands of hydrocarbon haze appear above the skyline. Water ice forms high altitude cirrostratus clouds in bone-chilling temperatures of -300 degrees Fahrenheit. At Neptune’s distance the sun is a feeble 1/900th its brightness as seen from Earth. The city would have to stay lit all the time. The wind speed on Neptune is 1,200 miles per hour, and this would tear apart the Statue of Liberty, sadly.