This 3D illustration was produced for the book "Concept Design II" in about 2004 or so. It is the first in a series of related illustrations. The companion pieces are "Origin: Unkown" [link]
"The Coming Storm" [link]
and "Evacuate the Colony" [link]
A group of ancient structures has just been discovered by a team of geologists stationed on an off-world mining facility. This remote and icy planet harbors no indigenous life, so the origin and purpose of these huge artifacts and their builders are a complete mystery.
In this view, the human explorers search for some way inside one of the artifacts. So far, they've had no luck
All the 3D elements were modeled and rendered in Lightwave 3D, with textures painted in Photoshop. The 3D render was retouched in Photoshop, to adjust the image contrast and retouch some small problem areas. The sky texture is a procedurally generated texture applied to a sky dome in the 3D scene.
This image is a variation and does not appear in the book - but I like it just the same. This is the first time it has been shown