Index / Exploration

Material: An Index for the Future

Material collects new forms of living. To produce concepts for future use, Material embraces instability, indexing happenings and lifestyles that reflect experimentation, exploration, conflict, and the mutations of everyday life. Why “Material”? We mean Material as in material world and also as in raw material. It means we look at things from a materialist perspective: […]

There’s Life on Mars: Behind the Scenes At a Simulated Martian Colony

There are many ways to visit outer space. One way is to pretend you’re already there. Right now six research volunteers are doing just that, in a small dome perched on the side of the Mauna Loa volcano on the big island of Hawaii. From October of last year until this June, the third mission […]

How Private Industry is Winning the Space Race

by William Rauscher Why did Columbus travel west? Why did Marco Polo head east? Because it is that pull, that unknown, that prospect of adventure that compels humans to seek new frontiers to explore. —MarsOne Manifesto Private enterprise is changing outer space. As NASA moves from an organization that travels to space to one that […]

Martian Drug Trip: Philip K. Dick’s The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

In Philip K. Dick’s hallucinatory sci-fi novel The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Earth’s first Martian colony is a lonesome, hardscrabble place that keeps its handful of occupants under the twin spells of boredom and isolation. The colonists have one means of escape from their living conditions: they chew a psychedelic narcotic called CAN-D and participate in […]

Vincent Fournier: Space Project

For his Space Project series, French photographer Vincent Fournier explores the hidden technological worlds of space exploration across the globe, unveiling uncanny moments in places like the French Guiana Space Centre, a Norwegian radar array, the cosmonaut training center in Star City, Russia, and the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. Fournier’s photographs traverse the […]

The Voyager Golden Record: Postcards From Planet Earth

A message in a bottle. The first cosmic mixtape. A letter from home that may never reach its destination. Compiled for NASA by a Cornell University committee led by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan in 1977, copies of the Golden Record are currently carried aboard both Voyager I and Voyager II spacecraft as they plunge […]

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 […]

Red Bull in Space

On 14 October, 2012, The Red Bull Stratos mission shot Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner into the upper reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere for the sake of a ten-minute freefall “from the edge of space,” an unprecedented stunt live-streamed across the mediasphere. Baumgartner set new altitude records for manned balloon flight, highest parachute jump, and greatest […]

NASAgram: Space Goes Social

The cosmos is a busy place: thanks to the public-relations efforts of NASA’s social media department we can participate in NASA’s efforts to explore, utilize and colonize space more than ever before, encountering otherworldly images of space in feeds more known for selfies, dinner pics, and photo bombs. At the same time, the NASA Instagram […]

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 […]