No artist inspired more love of space exploration and more excitement about our future than Robert McCall, who died Friday. He also painted gorgeous posters for 2001: A Space Odyssey and was art director on Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

McCall started out doing paintings of space and space travel for Life Magazine in the 1960s, and went on to paint the giant mural "The Space Mural - The Cosmic View" for the National Air And Space Museum in Washington, DC. He painted murals for many other locations, including NASA's Johnson Space Center. He also provided paintings for Disney's Epcot Center and some iconic postage stamps depicting space travel. He painted astronauts exploring the Moon, but also our future lunar cities and Mars bases, as well as far-off voyages. Whatever his subject, McCall infused the reaches of space with a joy and vibrancy that still speak to us.

But science-fiction fans might be more familiar with his poster art for 2001: A Space Odyssey and his art for The Black Hole and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

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Isaac Asimov described him as "the nearest thing to an artist in residence from outer space." He will be missed. Here are a few of our favorite McCall images, and you can view more of his incredible art over at his site. [CollectSpace via The Art Department]

R.I.P. Robert McCall, The Artist Who Created The Space Age

R.I.P. Robert McCall, The Artist Who Created The Space Age

R.I.P. Robert McCall, The Artist Who Created The Space Age

R.I.P. Robert McCall, The Artist Who Created The Space Age

R.I.P. Robert McCall, The Artist Who Created The Space Age

R.I.P. Robert McCall, The Artist Who Created The Space Age

R.I.P. Robert McCall, The Artist Who Created The Space Age

R.I.P. Robert McCall, The Artist Who Created The Space Age

R.I.P. Robert McCall, The Artist Who Created The Space Age