In 1977, Fred Eversley was invited to work as the first artist in residence in the newly-opened National Air and Space Museum. His art is often grouped with the “Light and Space” artworks made in California during the 1960s–1970s, a movement associated with the minimalist and abstract qualities of art informed by the aerospace technologies and industries on the west coast.
I’m an executive producer at Smithsonian Channel and I had the pleasure of making the documentary Making Tracks on Mars. We made our film feel like an adventure because most people think of Mars as a frontier, but at its core, the story taps into our primal drive to explore.
It’s been nearly 60 years since the first spacecraft were sent to Mars, and it’s inspiring to reflect on the progress that has been made since then. If all goes according to plan, the landing of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover will mark the start of NASA’s ninth surface mission on the Red Planet.
To get the answer, we have to know what to look for and where to go on the planet for evidence of past life. With the Perseverance rover set to land on Mars on February 18, we are finally in a position to know.
In 1897 author H.G. Wells imagined a different way to see Mars in his short shorty, “The Crystal Egg." Writing around the same time as his famous novel, “War of the Worlds,” he introduces us to two humans who discover a mysterious egg-shaped crystal that allows them to view the surface of Mars – and the strange creatures that inhabit it.
The Apollo program should be remembered as much for landing the first humans on the Moon as it is for countless demonstrations of problem solving and ingenuity, of continual fine-tuning and honing of expertise, which enabled NASA to set even more ambitious goals with each successive mission.
The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 14 mission, which included the longest moonwalk without a rover, is a good time to show how traverses away from the lunar landers progressed from one mission to the next.
Seventy-three seconds after launch, Challenger was destroyed on live TV. We did not understand what we saw: Our teachers could not explain it, our parents were unlikely to have better answers, and few of us probably spent time paying attention to what transpired afterwards in terms of the official investigation. The Challenger disaster symbolizes a moment in our personal and shared memories when we felt great sorrow together.
On January 28, 1986, Space Shuttle Challenger was set to launch on STS-51-L, on a mission to observe and track Halley’s Comet—73 seconds after launch, the shuttle disintegrated, ending the lives of all seven crew members. The disaster was most heavily felt in the space community and even in the realm of the cultural arts. Particularly, famed science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke and astronaut Sally K. Ride had their own respective responses to this tragedy.
After the 1950s, fictional depictions of space travel needed to suggest conceivable ways to cross interstellar distances to seem plausible. Some authors suggested faster-than-light drives, hyper drives, jump drives, worm holes, and black holes.