Thursday, May 26, 2016

Week 9: Space + Art

            The lectures this week discussed space and art. This study of space incorporates mathematics, robotics, biotechnology, and nanotechnology, all of which was discussed throughout this course. From the beginning of time, we have been fascinated by the sky, the stars, and the planets, and without the sciences mentioned above, we would not have been able to study the universe at all. It is easy to see why space exploration heavily relies on the application of all the science fields, but it is not so clear to see how influential art was in this process.
            The 1920 novel, Beyond the Planet Earth, by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky “remarkably anticipated the ISS [or International Space Station] by pictureing a space station with a crew of six people from Russia, America, France, England, Germany, and Italy, all of which (save for England) are now involved in its construction” (Westfahl). Tsiolkovsky anticipated the construction of the ISS thirty years before space travel became possible. In later years, Arthur C. Clarke wrote technological science fiction novels like The Fountains of Paradise and A Space Odyssey “to promote this future to a wider public” (Cengage Learning). Clarke believed that most public support and excitement stemmed from science fiction novels, movies, and TV shows.
            Aside from books, TV shows like Planet Stories, The Jetsons, Lost in Space, and Star Trek influenced popular culture. “’Star Trek’ has represented the hope of what space – ‘the final frontier’ – can mean for humanity in a few centuries” (Howell). Shows like Star Trek excited the public about space travel. For example, in 1970, Constitution was a prototype space shuttle that was about to run test flights, but Star Trek fans wrote letters to the government to request the name to be changed to Enterprise, which is the main starship in the TV series.

            It is clear to see how these forms of art were extremely important in the public acceptance, understanding, support, excitement, etc. of space travel and exploration. NASA perfectly states that they are “proud to be part of the wonderful future that visionaries such as Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick imagined more than 45 years ago” (Dunbar).


Cengage Learning and CengageBrain. "5 Science Fiction Writers And Their Impact On Space Exploration." HowToLearncom. The Center For New Discoveries In 
          Learning, Inc, 25 July 2012. Web. 26 May 2016. <>.

Dunbar, Brian. "1968 Science Fiction Is Today's Reality." NASA. NASA, 21 Oct. 2014. Web. 26 May 2016. 

Forde, Kathleen. "Dancing on the Ceiling: Art & Zero Gravity Curated by Kathleen Forde : EMPAC Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts 
          Center : Troy, NY USA." Dancing on the Ceiling: Art & Zero Gravity Curated by Kathleen Forde : EMPAC Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and 
          Performing Arts Center : Troy, NY USA. Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, n.d. Web. 26 May 2016. 

Howell, Elizabeth. "Star Trek: History & Effect on Space Technology." Purch, 01 Feb. 2016. Web. 26 May 2016. 

Westfahl, Gary. "Inspired by Science Fiction." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 26 May 2016. <>.

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