Category Archives: Space Arts

Video: “How to Draw the Lunar Lander”

Artist Stanley Von Medvey shows how to draw the Apollo lunar lander:

If you prefer to build a model of the lander, here are some paper model guides for download:

Here’s a 1960s era NASA fact sheet for the Lunar Module (pdf).

And a simulator: Eagle Lander 3D (EL3D)


Aoshima Apollo Lunar Module Eagle-5 Model Kit

Space arts roundup – July.1.2019

Some space arts related items I’ve recently come across:

** Winners announced for the OK Go Sandbox‘s Art In Space Contest. As described in the March posting about the contest, the band OK Go, which had made a music video in microgravity, wanted to encourage young people between ages 11-18 to do their own art projects in space and they came up with the idea of a contest:

The Art in Space contest invited students to dream up their own cool experiments to send into suborbital space onboard the [Blue Origin] New Shepard spacecraft.

The two winning teams will work with engineers, artists and educators from the Playful Learning Lab, in consultation with Blue Origin and OK Go, on flight ready versions of their ideas.

The responses of the winners when informed of their selection were captured in this video:

One of the two winning teams is based in New York and includes students Alexandra Slabakis (16), Grace Clark (16), and Annabelle Clark (12). The team’s project is called “Dark Origin” and will use gravity and magnetism to simulate the origin of planet Earth.

The second winning team is based in Utah and includes students Cameron Trueblood (11), Blake Hullinger (12), and Kellen Hullinger(15). Their design proposes using environmental data taken during the space craft’s flight to create sounds and visual art.

“We were thrilled with the entries to the Art In Space contest – picking winners was so hard!” said OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash. “The submissions were all so imaginative, and really exemplified the type of thinking and creativity that OK Go is always striving for in our own work. The kids, especially our winners, clearly understand the truth that so many adults have lost along the way: there are no borders separating art and science — they’re the same thing. It all comes from curiosity and experimentation, and creativity is really just about exercising those skills.”

*** You can also send your artwork to space and back via a New Shepard. Blue Origin’s public participation initiative, Club for the Future, welcomes your art on the back of postcard

At Club for the Future:

Draw or write your vision of millions of people living and working in space on the blank side of a self-addressed, stamped postcard, and send it to us. We’ll pack the first 10,000 postcards received before July 20, 2019 inside the Crew Capsule on an upcoming New Shepard flight. Your idea will launch into space! Once New Shepard returns to Earth, we’ll send your postcard back to you, officially stamped “flown to space.”

To participate, see the step-by-step guide on the Club for Space homepage or download these instructions (pdf).

** Amazon Prime’s “Artist Depiction” documentary profiles 3 space artists: Don Davis, Charles Lindsay, and Rick Guidice discuss their

Space Habitat - Rick Guidice
A rendering of a pair of large space habitats by Rick Guidice.

** Check out the terrific images created artist Sam Taylor who is inspired by the SpaceX Starships now in development in Florida and Texas:

SpaceX Starships - Sam Taylor
SpaceX Starship inspired artwork by Sam Taylor.

** A CNN article on the space arts covers astronaut and dancer Mae Jemison’s views on the importance of both the arts and STEM in a well-rounded education, the paintings of the Moon by the late Apollo astronaut Alan Bean, astronaut Nicole Stott’s use of art to teach kids about space, and the role of effective illustrations in explaining complex space science and astrophysics phenomena: Art and space: ‘A quest never to end’ – CNN

For the past 15 years at Caltech, the artistic duo of Robert Hurt and Tim Pyle has been creating illustrations of how gravitational waves, myriad exoplanets and even the top of the Milky Way might look if we could see them for ourselves. The images look so realistic that the captions have to remind people that they’re artistic renderings.

Trappist-1 Planetary System - Tim Pyle and Robert Hurt
A rendering of the TRAPPIST-1 exo-planetary system illustrates the relative sizes of the earth-scale planets, their orbits around their ultra-cool red-dwarf sun, and the habitable zone band where water can be in liquid form rather than steam or ice for a planet with an earth-like atmosphere. Credits: Tim Pyle and Robert Hurt.


Einstein’s Monsters:
The Life and Times of Black Holes

Space art roundup – April.27.2019

** The Humans In Space Youth Art Competition, is sponsored by the SciArt Exchange:

We are calling on the generation who will take the next giant steps into space. If you are between 10-18 years old, help shape ideas for the future of space exploration with the international Humans In Space Youth Art Competition.

Create artwork that is musical, literary, visual or video that expresses your ideas and inspiration for a new generation living, working and doing science on the Moon. What will it look like, sound like, and feel like?

Winning artwork selected by an international panel of artists, scientists, teachers, engineers and astronauts will be displayed through a worldwide tour, beginning with a kickoff event in the Vortex Dome in Los Angeles, California in August 2019.  The first place visual and literary artworks will receive $250 US, and the first place video and musical artworks will receive $500 US.

Submissions are due May 15, 2019, 23:59 US CT


** Winning entries in the 9th Annual Space Foundation International Student Art Contest are on display on line.

Rui Xi of Malaysia – 1st Place, 3 – 4 Years Old

As noted here last fall, the contest was sponsored this year by Firefly Aerospace.

Xinyi Christine of U.S.A. – Space Achievement Award, 13 – 14 Years Old

** A children’s art contest was part of China Aerospace Day for 2019 in Changsha, Hunan. An event held on April 24th that included a display of works from those

… participating in the collection of the 8th Space Painting Creation of My Space Dream.  The event was jointly sponsored by the China Aerospace Society and the Hunan Provincial Department of Education. As one of the 2019 China Aerospace Science Popularization Series activities, the event received positive responses from young people across the country. [Google translation]

Check out some of the entries.

“You and I Walked Into Space” by HanJiaxin


Dreaming of Space by Dai Jiayi

** The Peanuts Project at the Space Center Houston was organized by the Peanuts Global Artist Collective. Here is a press release about the project:

Space Center Houston Opened a Peanuts-Inspired Art Installation
Honoring the Apollo 10 Mission  

HOUSTON, April 26, 2019 – See it now! Space Center Houston opened a new art installation featuring Charles Schulz’s iconic characters in a new groundbreaking arts initiative launch event. This art initiative is a partnership between Peanuts Worldwide, the Houston Arts Alliance, Houston Parks Board, Space Center Houston and Brookfield Properties designed to bring Houstonians public art re-imaginings of Charles M. Schulz’s beloved, iconic characters.

To kick-off the launch of the exhibit, Houston-area students and the guests engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities developed by Peanuts to learn about how NASA explores the cosmos, and the beloved character Snoopy made an appearance.

The “Peanuts Constellation” mural by artist Kenny Scharf.

At the entrance of Space Center Houston, the outdoor art installation features a full-scale International Space Station Training Module wrapped in an original Charlie Brown and Snoopy Motif by artist Kenny Scharf. Entitled “The Heavens and the Earth,” the art installation honors NASA’s 50th Anniversary celebrations of Apollo 10. NASA and Peanuts have a longstanding partnership. NASA named the Apollo 10 command and lunar modules “Charlie Brown” and “Snoopy,” respectively. (Apollo 10, which orbited the moon, served as a dress rehearsal for the historic Apollo 11 moon landing in July 1969.)

Featuring artwork by four of the world’s most acclaimed contemporary artists, the larger-than-life installations will continue on as “The Heavens and the Earth” Public Art Project with the Houston Arts Alliance Blasts Off, bring Insta-Worthy, Peanuts-inspired creations to Houston’s Public Parks and across the city’s most popular landmarks.

The Peanuts Global Artist Collective, presented by Peanuts Worldwide, launched a year ago with an ambitious public art initiative spanning seven international cities: Paris, Seoul, New York, San Francisco, Berlin, Tokyo and Mexico City. Curated by the esteemed, leading art curators at Culture Corps, the project features the work of seven elite artists. Four of them—Nina Chanel Abney, AVAF, FriendsWithYou and Kenny Scharf—will pepper their creations throughout Houston.

For the latest news and openings in Houston and beyond, fans can log on to Peanuts Global Artist Collective. And to participate in the project, residents of and visitors to Houston are encouraged to pose in front of the murals (as thousands of others around the world have), and post to their own Insta using the hashtags #SnoopyGlobalArt and #PeanutsHTX.


More at Snoopy, Charlie Brown wrap space station node in new art installation | collectSPACE.


The Race to the Moon Chronicled in Stamps, Postcards, and Postmarks:
A Story of Puffery vs. the Pragmatic (Springer Praxis Books)

Space arts: Moon paintings, painting on the ISS, and Orbital Reflector still lost in the crowd

Some space art related items:

** The Color of the Moon is an exhibition at the Hudson River Museum

devoted to the allure of the moon for American painters, whose art has reflected the eternal fascination with our closest celestial body. It is the first major museum examination of the moon as it relates to the story of the American nocturne as it developed from the early 1810s through the late 1960s.

The BBC shows a tour of the exhibition with chief curator Laura Vookles: Why the Moon makes us all romantics – BBC News

The exhibition features more than 60 works of art, highlighting key painters who depicted the moon, from the early nineteenth-century masterpieces of Thomas Cole, the father of the Hudson River School, who embraced a kind of longing Romanticism that the astronomical body symbolized, to late works by famed illustrator Norman Rockwell, represented by his depictions of a long-held romantic yearning finally fulfilled–America’s triumphant lunar landing in 1969. All of the works in the exhibition underscore how the Romantic idea of the moon held an inexorable pull for artists, and was central to its depiction of landscape, a subject of ongoing engagement at the Museum.

“Oscar Florianus Bluemner (American, b. Germany, 1867–1938). Moon Radiance, 1927. Watercolor with gum coating on hot pressed off-white wove paper laid down by the artist to thick wood panel. Karen & Kevin Kennedy Collection. Photograph by Joshua Nefsky.”
“George Inness (American, 1825–1894). Winter Moonlight (Christmas Eve), 1866. Oil on canvas. Montclair Art Museum. Museum purchase; Lang Acquisition Fund, 1948 (1948.29).”

** Astronaut Nicole Stott describes painting in space during her stay on the ISS: What it’s like to paint in space—according to a NASA astronaut — Quartz

Nicole Stott displays a couple of her space paintings.

I grew up doing artsy crafty things, and as an adult—if I could find spare time—I would paint, do some woodworking, or tinker in the garden. Thankfully, before my first spaceflight, my crew support representative and friend Maryjane Anderson encouraged me to think about how I might spend some of my spare time while living for months in space. Thanks to her, I packed a small watercolor kit, and became the first person to paint a watercolor in space.

When people hear I’ve painted in space, they often comment about how it must have been fun to float in front of a window and paint whatever part of Earth I was looking at. And I agree, that would be great—if we weren’t for the fact that we’re passing over the planet at five miles a second. You literally wouldn’t get the brush to the paper before the thing you’re trying to paint would be out of sight. There’s no plein air painting in space.

** Trevor Paglen‘s Orbital Reflector not yet deployed in orbit due to problems identifying a dozen or so of the 64 smallsats released in the Falcon 9 launch last December: Trevor Paglen’s Orbital Reflector art installation in limbo in outer space –

Paglen’s collaborators on the project, Nevada Museum of Art, require the go-ahead from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deploy the artwork. In a statement written during the US governmental shutdown, the museum explained that they were unable to receive the go-ahead from the government department.

Before permission can be granted, a division of the US Air Force must identify each of the 64 satellites. This task has not yet been completed, even though the government is now back up and running.

Regardless of the the shutdown, it has been difficult to track individual spacecraft with so many of them grouped together: Unidentified satellites reveal the need for better space tracking – The Verge

For some operators, it seems that they were able to get in touch with their satellite at the beginning of the flight when all the satellites were in one big blob and close together in space. But as the probes have spread apart in the last few months, it’s become more difficult to know where to point their communication equipment, since so many identities are still unknown. Some operators have had trouble hearing back from the satellites in recent months.

That seems to be the case for Trevor Paglen’s Orbital Reflector — an art project that’s supposed to deploy a giant reflective balloon capable of being seen from Earth. In January, the team behind the satellite said that they had been in contact with the spacecraft, but that the government shutdown had impacted their ability to deploy the balloon. The website for the project states that the team still doesn’t have accurate orbital data for the satellite. “We are working to resolve these issues and will have more conclusive information to share in the near future,” Amanda Horn, a representative for the Nevada Museum of Art, said in a statement to The Verge.

See also: Orbital Reflector Status Report – Nevada Museum of Art (pdf).


First on the Moon: The Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Experience

OK Go contest to send student “art experiments” to space on Blue’s New Shepard

The band OK Go is hosting the Art In Space contest in which a “student art experiment” will fly to space on the Blue Origin‘s suborbital New Shepard rocket vehicle. OK Go is partnering on the contest with the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St Thomas, and sponsor Cognizant Technology Solutions. Here is the contest announcement from Cognizant

What would happen if an art experiment was launched into space? That’s the question that Grammy award-winning rock band OK Go is hoping to answer through its non-profit venture OK Go Sandbox.

In partnership with the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas, the band is inviting students ages 11 to 18 to submit ideas for art experiments that will take place aboard the Blue Origin New Shepard spacecraft. Blue Origin’s New Shepard is a reusable spacecraft designed to take payloads — and someday, people — into suborbital space. As part of its ongoing commitment to promoting creativity and inspiring interest in science, technology, engineering and math, Cognizant is sponsoring the “Art in Space” contest.

“Cognizant helps our clients across industries – including healthcare, life sciences, banking, retail, energy and technology – solve some of the world’s most complex challenges, and we will look to the next generation of creative thinkers to further our work,” said Jim Lennox, Cognizant’s Chief People Officer. “The resources provided by OK Go and Playful Learning Lab to help teachers inspire students is so important. We look forward to seeing how young minds around the world respond to the ‘Art in Space’ challenge.”

Students from around the world are invited to submit their project ideas; the deadline to enter is May 6. To read the contest guidelines and to learn more, click here.

The contest is the latest public involvement initiative at the band’s OK Go Sandbox project.

OK Go wants to put your student art experiment on a spaceship!

OK Go thinks creativity is all about the joy of experimentation.

Making a music video in microgravity was one big experiment. 

We tried all sorts of creative ideas and put them to the test within the limitations of physics and gravity.

Now we want you to try, but in actual space! The Art in Space contest invites your creative art and science minds to dream up your own cool experiments to send into suborbital space onboard the New Shepard spacecraft.

All you need is a great idea — if you win, our experts will help build it.

Got questions? We’ve got answers* (some answers, the rest are up to you!)

The band is well known for the innovative videos for their songs. Here is one filmed on an airplane that flew parabolic trajectories to product short periods of weightlessness:

More about the contest:


Brief Answers to the Big Questions – Stephen Hawking