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Submitted on
November 15, 2006
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Starprobe by DonSimpson Starprobe by DonSimpson
Full-size plastic model of a space probe of extraterrestrial origin. Part of an exhibit I designed for the Life in the Universe hall at the National Air And Space Museum. (The other part of the exhibit can be seen on page 199 of a book titled "The Smithsonian Experience", in a photo called "Message pod from a space creature". I'm working on getting a good photo of that to upload.) The flat red & grey disk is about two feet across, and was designed to rotate (though it was not displayed rotating).

I did all the design and construction work myself, with assistance from Jack Hawley (who was my boss at the time, so I was his assistant in his job, which was Inventor For Hire). The larger pieces were vacuformed, plug molded, or machined; many smaller ones were stamped out with a punch press and dies. It was very nice to have all the resources of Jack's electronic and mechanical prototyping shop available. I miss that.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2007-11-22
Starprobe by *DonSimpson. This professional, interesting statue/model really caught my attention. It has beautiful design, and while immediately recognizable as a spaceship, features unique, fresh elements. ( Suggested by bananaprincess and Featured by fourteenthstar )
bear48 Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Professional
glunac Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013   General Artist
featured [link]
DonSimpson Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013
Thank you. :)
TenSkies Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2012  Student General Artist
again, surprisingly organic and believable... great job!! :)
DonSimpson Featured By Owner May 1, 2012
Thank you. :) The organic look here is supposedly due to the aliens' construction method (zero-gravity field-constrained casting), which I simulated with plug molding and vacuum forming. But actually, I just like organic shapes.
NicholasMcRae Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2012  Professional General Artist
This is a very cool model. Are there lights inside it?
DonSimpson Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2012
No lights. It was equipped with a motor and rollers so that the large disk could rotate, but the museum people didn't connect that part. They did ask why it didn't have lights, but if they wanted lights they should have requested them.
clatu Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2011
as concerns the Starprobe i can only conclude that a booklet on its design would please a lot of star trek fans as it is far more interesting in its design than the Enterprise. the original probe and Entity would be a welcome sight once again at the smithsonianas as it was in the early 1970 exhibit.
DonSimpson Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2011
There are entire sets of blueprints of various versions of the Enterprise, and I think why Star Trek fans like them is that they are part of an entire fictional universe that they enjoy, rather than wonderful design values.

I should try to see what has become of the Starprobe, but I keep getting distracted by things I feel are more urgent.
clatu Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2011 of the very best exhibits ever. !! the smithsonian should be delighted to have a professionally built model that has captured the imagination not only when first exhibited.. but to this day some 30 plus years later. created, no question, by a master craftsman and a dedicated artisan. sadly, this model has never been reproduced to the dissapointment of avid collectors .let us hope this becomes a reality while mr. simpson is still with us.
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