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  • Apollo and the Muses: cultural and technical inspirational knowledge embedded in lunar space arts.

    Paper number



    Dr. Sarah Jane Pell, Australia, ESA Topical Team Arts & Science


    Prof. David G. Barnes, Australia, Monash University



    As international coöperation for a Moon Village strengthens, recent milestones such as the Chang'e 4 soft landing on the far side of the Moon, and the substantial down payment of "SpaceX BFR's First Private Moon Passenger” Yusaku Maezawa are encouraging steps towards the first crewed lunar orbital mission to follow the Apollo program. Aptly following the Greek mythology of Apollo, Maezawa's #DearMoon mission invites the company of nine artistic muses. Honouring this theme, I present nine contemporary art and cultural research projects integrated within a 15-day isolated and confined lunar analogue mission simulation. The mission architecture was uniquely customised and curated for the specific parameters of the Lunares Moon/Mars Station in Poland, 2018 and the strengths and interests of the SPECTRA crew. As mission commander and curator, my practice focused on human expression and performance, and the challenges of broadcast and communication. I design tactical laboratories for experimental arts to support performance within extreme operational isolated confined environments [ICE]. For the duration of the SPECTRA mission, I collaborate with the Monash Immersive Visualisation Platform [MIVP] and various remote partners. MIVP teams produced tools for spatial awareness during simulated EVAs in terrestrial analogue sites, and post-processing large data transmission between global sites for affective visualisation in the CAVE2 and the Monash Future Control Room. Artefacts included immersive media, mixed reality, human-robotic interaction design, and new systems for live art and translocation communication and interdisciplinary human performance research published in Virtual Reality and Dome formats. Outcomes were real and speculative, poetic and practical with high technical cultural value and human factors benefits during and post-mission. The success of the SPECTRA mission demonstrated ways that the cultural and technical cooperation inspired the philosophical transformation, artefacts and expectations of human spaceflight during the Apollo era, gives value both to the arts and science goals in missions today. As the Apollo broadcast and communication achievements, and associated legacies for example, reveal how the “golden age” of space conjured inspirational knowledge embedded in Literature, Sciences and the Arts today, which I argue, remains useful for future lunar mission planning today, is critical for mission architectures of tomorrow. While the Apollo programme was primarily about space exploration, it also represented a meeting of political, technological and ontological paradigms through a global media spectacle, to become a significant moment in cultural exploration.
    Abstract document


    Manuscript document

    IAC-19,E5,3,12,x48843.pdf (🔒 authorized access only).

    To get the manuscript, please contact IAF Secretariat.