A week after I started using blender to create the planets in my first post I was asked to work on the cover for a Nasa Astrobiology Institute (NAI) grant proposal. The proposal was to cover many projects related to exoplanet habitability, evolution, and interiors and the request was for the cover to capture the connections between these different projects. We settled on a design that had different 4 streams of planets leading toward a central star. Each stream represented a different aspect of the project: Earth/Mars habitability through time, Solar System/Titan, evolution of ocean worlds, and exoplanet interiors.
I started with the aspect I was most unfamiliar with at that point, modeling and texturing a planet interior.
Next I started making the planets that would populate the rest of the scene.
Images from NASA were used to create the surfaces of Earth, Titan, and Mars. I used Mathematica to create a theoretical Mars surface with ocean up to a certain elevation using a Mars elevation map from NASA.
I then worked on arranging the planets to achieve the picture I wanted.
And after about another week I had this image that made it onto the cover.
Huge thank you to Blender Guru for his awesome tutorials!