Index / Apollo Mission

Introduction: Space Race

Why is the first issue of Material about space? Material 1 is about space because starting here reflects one of our central means of observation: to understand the whole, you have to start with the extreme. Peruse the borders. Mark your limits. Establish the frontier. Often the best position from which to begin any analysis […]

From an Abandoned McDonald’s, Space Pirates Hijack a Satellite

by William Rauscher In the spring of 2014, former NASA employee Keith Cowing and a crew of volunteers successfully hijacked the ISEE-3, a NASA spacecraft in solar orbit launched in 1978. Operating independently from NASA, the “citizen scientist” crew adopted a “spacecraft for all” approach, carrying out a space mission that was entirely crowd-funded and […]

Faces of Space: Archival NASA Portraits

Our collective visual memory of the NASA space program has been collaged largely from several decades of official portraits, PR photo ops, and breathtaking vistas of the Earth and the heavens.  The surface narrative told by these images has heavily focused on depicting the collective heroism responsible for humankind’s greatest achievement. This curated selection of […]

Space Junk: Souvenirs From the Final Frontier

These days obtaining your own special piece of space history is no sweat: you can find second-hand space junk in resale venues like auctions, eBay listings and garage sales. A Russian spacesuit, a bit of Astro-food, a mixtape from Apollo, or an incomprehensible grey box with an LCD screen, all are up on the chopping […]

Frontier Music: How Brian Eno Pioneered “Space Country”

by John Moeller and William Rauscher Early in the film Trainspotting, junkie protagonist Renton dives into ‘The Worst Toilet in Scotland’ to retrieve some opium suppositories. Sliding down the toilet bowl, he passes through a rabbit hole, emerging on the other side in a dreamlike ocean world. The soundtrack to the scene is a drifting melange of […]

The Overview Effect

This short documentary by Planetary Collective explores what astronauts, scientists and experts have come to refer to as the “overview effect”: the experience of viewing Earth from the vantage point of stationary orbit. This macro perspective on our world produces a mental collision between two sensations: the sense of how enormous our planet is, and […]