Rocketship on the playa

For Burning Man 2009, a group of about 60 artists, scientists and engineers is working on a large, stylized rocket ship called the Raygun Gothic Rocketship.

Intended to invoke the romantic notion of space travel before it became reality, the rocket is meant to look like a 1940s-era spacecraft.

The artists have been building it in Oakland, Calif., and it will be installed at Burning Man, in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. Late in the event, there will be a "launch," and thousands of participants are expected to be on hand to watch what happens.

In this artists rendering, the 40-foot-tall rocket is seen as it will look, on the Black Rock Desert, alongside its 25-foot-tall gantry.
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Photo by: Raygun Gothic Rocketship / Caption by:

Small model

This small model is meant to convey what the rocket will look like when finished. It has a very stylized look to it, including thousands of rivets and a very retro aesthetic.
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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Raygun Gothic Rocketship schematic

A schematic showing what the Raygun Gothic Rocketship is meant to look like.
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Photo by: Raygun Gothic Rocketship / Caption by:

Top section

The rocket ship is made in three main sections. This is the top section, where the pilot will sit. Inside is a stand-in for the pilot's chair.
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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Two sections, side by side

The lower section (on the right) and the middle section, are seen side by side, in the warehouse in Oakland, Calif., where the rocket is being built in advance of Burning Man 2009.
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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Time machine

A steam punk time machine, or "dihemispheric chronaether agitator," built by Alan Rorie, a member of the Raygun Gothic Rocketship team. The time machine was on display nearby where the rocket is being built in an Oakland, Calif., warehouse.
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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Pilot's seat

Sean Orlando, one of the three leaders of the project, talks about the pilot's seat, which will be installed in the top section of the rocket.
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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Nose cone

The nose cone of the Raygun Gothic Rocketship, which will be on display and will be open for participants to explore, at Burning Man 2009.
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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Rocket legs

The 17-foot-long legs that will support the main body of the Raygun Gothic Rocketship.

Under construction in Oakland, Calif., neither the legs nor the rocket itself, are finished yet.
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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Escape hatch

For maximum realism, the rocket comes complete with an escape hatch with exploding bolts. The hatch isn't finished yet, but it will be installed in this space.
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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Lens for looking up

This lens will let visitor to the rocket's engine room look up and see a distorted view of people in the room above.
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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Working on the motor

Raygun Gothic Rocketship team members David Shulman (right) and Alan Rorie, explain how the rocket's motor works.
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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

Chart

One of the charts that visitors to the rocket will be able to see. The charts will show what is going on at a systems level, a local level, and a quadrant level.
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Photo by: Daniel Terdiman/CNET / Caption by:

High voltage

The rocket's motor will feature six power cells, each of which will be seem to operate with a very powerful high voltage effect, as seen here.
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Photo by: Raygun Gothic Rocketship / Caption by:

Drawign with telescope

The rocket will have a telescope that can view the sky from a side panel. This is an artist's rendering of what that will look like.
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Photo by: Raygun Gothic Rocketship / Caption by:

The Raygun Gothic Rocketship crew

Several members of the crew building the rocket pose for a picture while climbing on its structure.
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Photo by: Raygun Gothic Rocketship / Caption by:
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