Dominik Smialowski casts a skyfarer in the vast green and lush Icelandic landscape with his The Pilot’s Melancholy. The astronaut is all alone, isolated with only the grey, cloudy sky above to comfort him. His suit, intricate with its ties, buckles and features resembles an exoskeleton–a plush shell harded to protect against the elements and possibly loneliness.
At the end of an incredibly long work week, I had a seat at my neighborhood bar. The young man sitting to my right had stars shaved into one side of his mohawk. I began comparing his hair to the style of JPL’s Flight Director Bobak Ferdowsi and how he wore it during the landing of Curiosity. This hair-do opened the floodgates and suddenly I was babbling about the Rover, Mars, the future of NASA, space exploration in the United States, blah blah… I’m sorry stranger that I sat down next to you. Mars is incredible. And Curiosity is beginning to share it all with us – more in depth than Spirit or Opportunity was ever able to do.
David Penela’s Cosmonaut series is subtly lovely. The cosmonauts, donned in their NASA Mercury-like suits, scale the red planet. Their lips are the same red as the soil, they are part of the landscape. The cosmonauts belong on the martian soil.
With the passing of Neil Armstrong this past week, I have spent much time looking through archival footage of Neil and his gang. I wanted to share with you something spectacular, something sprinkled with cosmic moon dust. The above panoramas of the moon are courtesy of USRA’s Lunar and Planetary Institute. Twelve men have walked on the moon. This is what it was like inside their space suits.Take a peek at as many Apollo Surface Panoramas that you can squeeze into your lunch break. These high-resolution images have such high quality that you can almost see your own breath steaming on the glass of your own space suit.
It is really a strong smell. It has that taste–to me, gunpowder–and the smell of gunpowder, too.
—Charlie Duke, Apollo 16 astronaut, 1972
We have seen the moon. Images have been beamed home of the moon’s landscape and of the Apollo boys dancing on top of the lunar surface. There are moon rocks to touch. What about the smells of our moon?
We Colonised the Moon‘s Sue Corke and Hagen Betzwieser 2012 Enter at Own Risk explores the scent of the moon. In a laboratory-like room, a single astronaut tends his garden of rocks and applies them periodically with the scent of the Moon-–a synthesized smell made from the reports of the Apollo boys. The atmosphere-less moon prevents anyone from satisfying their olfactory glands, but when the Apollo crew came back to their landing modules and removed their helmets they had a faintest whiff of our nearest astrological object-–a whiff tinted with the notes of gun powder, burnt metal, and home cooked barbecue.
Steve Pearce of Omega Ingredients has created the smell of the moon. Enter at Own Risk uses the famous iconography of early astronaut training and rehearsal where “…witnesses of this ballet of space maintenance emerge pollinated with the smell of the moon. Conveying from a designed and engineering space which is neither here nor there, the impossible sensory contamination spreads into the city beyond the gallery.”