The Natural Arch and Bridge Society

Out of This World Gallery

For the most part, we can currently only speculate about the existence of natural arches on other worlds. In 2006, however, a natural arch may have been been discovered on Mars (it remains to be verified but seems likely). And in 2010 a natural bridge was confirmed to exist on the Moon.

Meanwhile, astronomical and space artists, whose works combine scientific realism with speculative imagination about what other worlds could look like, have produced a number of paintings of hypothetical natural arches in other-worldly settings. A few examples are below.

Arc of the Ages
Arc of the Ages, © by Michael Carroll, courtesy of Novaspace Galleries

ARC OF THE AGES. This painting by Michael Carroll depicts a rock arch on a distant planetoid, ten billion light years from Earth, which beckons the viewer to contemplate a spinning quasar lying beyond an ancient star cluster. It is available as a limited edition lithograph (17 x 23 inches), either framed or unframed, from Novaspace Galleries.
Novaspace Galleries


Brilliant Arch
Brilliant Arch, © by Mitchell Davidson Bentley, courtesy of the artist

BRILLIANT ARCH. The brilliant light of sunrise splashes through the opening of a natural arch on the moon of a hypothetical ringed planet in this colorful painting by Mitchell Davidson Bentley. The limited edition 8 x 10 prints of this 1992 painting have long since been sold out (print #100 is in the collection of the webmaster).
Atomic Fly Studios


Natural Arch
Natural Arch © Rolf Wahl Olsen, courtesy of the artist

Natural arch on a ring planet's moon in a globular cluster, created with 3D Studio Max by artist Rolf Wahl Olsen. For a larger image and more of Rolf's space art, check out his website.


Archway to the Stars
Archway to the Stars: Photos by Gunter Welz and NASA, realization by John Urwin

ARCHWAY TO THE STARS. John Urwin used a photo of the Sahara Desert's magnificent Aloba Arch by Gunter Welz and melded it with a photo from NASA to produce this striking image depicting the smallness of humanity facing the grandeur of the cosmos. The presence of a person standing in front of the shadow at the bottom of the arch provides the scale. Note that this incredible natural arch is actually real!


MARTIAN ARCHES NATURAL MONUMENT, by renowned space artist Pamela Lee, is one of the most beautiful depictions of natural arches on another planet that we have seen. It can be found on page 120 of the lavishly-illustrated book Out of the Cradle: Exploring the Frontiers Beyond Earth, by William K. Hartmann, Ron Miller, and Pamela Lee (Workman, 1984). We have so far not been able to obtain permission to post a scan of this painting, but a rather poor-quality image of it is available here. Dr. Hartmann, of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, speculated in this 1984 book that the low gravity of Mars could result in spans of great length and delicacy. However, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which went into service in Mars orbit in 2006 and is capable of resolving objects of this size, hasn't found anything yet that looks like the depictions in this painting.


See also the arches on the planet Tatooine on our Movie Gallery page.

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The Natural Arch and Bridge Society