NASA's been an inspiration for me since I was a child. I remember gathering around the little wall-mounted TV in our classroom to watch the news coverage of the first moon landing. When Voyager was launched, I wondered what aliens would think of the Bach recordings she carried. It's now 34 years later, and, amazingly, Voyagers I and II are both still flying, still recording and sending back useful telemetry, and still steerable! Think about it. These delicate little spacecraft, operating on less power than a flashlight, are still working and will soon be the first man-made artifacts to leave our solar system. I only hope my car lasts half that long.
In July, I had the privilege of taking a two-week vacation into orbit aboard the International Space Station, compliments of NasaTV. From the pre-dawn launch of Shuttle Atlantis, until her final wheelstop, NasaTV provided a mind-numbing amount of coverage of STS-135's mission to the ISS. Atlantis, her crew, and the Station itself were mic'd and had live video feeds. If all you saw was the "edited-for-sound-bites" version on network television, you missed out. Viewers were invited to watch the docking, the mission and experimental work, the morning wakeup call, live helmet feeds from the mission's EVA (spacewalk); even to participate in a meal with the crew. It was so close to actually being there that I was surprised when I couldn't float out of my bed in the morning. Darn, no zero-g for me!
Oh, and have you been keeping up with Opportunity lately? That's one of the twin rovers NASA sent to Mars in 2003. The twins, Spirit and Opportunity, were initially given 90-day missions. While Spirit was officially retired in May of this year, Opportunity is moving into the eighth year of its 90-day mission. The little rover that could!
Okay, so I do go on about space stuff. What does all this have to do with art? So far, I haven't talked about art, only about inspiration. And space IS inspirational. It fires the imagination. It is the siren, calling to the sailor - dangerous, untouchable, and very, very beautiful.
Galactic CoreImage Credit: NASA, ESA, SSC, CXC, and STScI
Spiral Galaxy M51
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, W. Li and A. Filippenko (Universit
y of California ,
Berkeley), S. Beckwith (STScI), and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AUR A)
The image used in the profile picture on this blog is of the Cat's Eye Nebula, taken from the Hubble Space Telescope. Credits to J.P. Harrington and K.J. Borkowski (University of Maryland), and NASA /ESA. These images are available to me because NASA is cool about putting stuff in the public domain, not because I’m affiliated with them in any way.
And you thought space was just for science majors? Hah! My goal is to recreate these wonders using yarn and dye. Yarn. Nebulae. It's all the same. Well, except for the scale, that is. So don't be surprised when the yarn starts showing up in my store with names like:
Galaxy Centaurus A
Interacting Spiral Galaxies
Want to see more exquisite photos of our amazing universe? Check out the links under "Cosmos" on my sidebar.