BCNM was thrilled to visit the NASA Ames Research Center on Thursday, April 28th as part of BCNM Explores, a series of site tours to investigate collaborations across disciplines. At NASA Ames, the BCNM had the opportunity to dive into the archives and study works on planetary mining, human colonies, and more, created by artists in close consultation with scientists. The visit sparked discussion on the history of art within NASA, the portrayal of space in relation to westward expansion, issues of diversity in images of the future, and the inequities involved in human colonization projects. Some of the artists whose original works we were able to view, included Don Davis, Paul Hudson, and Rick Guidice.
Following a visit to the test field for the Mars Rovers, the BCNM studied a new platform to connect and track light unmanned aircrafts not governed by the FAA in an effort to improve safety, as well as new developments in air traffic control systems. BCNM was intrigued by the public and private partnerships NASA navigates and dove into a conversation on implementation in fields resistant to change.
Finally, BCNM toured NASA’s outward facing programs and applications designed to involve individuals in the NASA community and research, such as the Mars Trek, which allows you to walk through Mars, and Fireballs in the Sky, which allows you to film and find comets. BCNM was thrilled to learn more about NASA’s engagement in classrooms around the world, and delighted in learning more about not only the politics but also the ethics of space exploration.
We were fascinated by the design challenges NASA is tackling with its various stakeholders and are excited to find opportunities to collaborate in the future.
Many thanks to the wonderful people who made the day possible, especially: Glenn Bugos, NASA Historian, who coordinated our visit; April Gage, NASA archivist, who built an exhibition for us; Lois Rosson, BCNM DE and former NASA intern, who shared her research on NASA art; Nicholas De Monchaux, BCNM member and Architecture Professor, who explained the historical significance of the buildings and images of human colonies; and Greg Niemeyer, BCNM Director, who inspired and led the tour!
We look forward to sharing our next great exploration! In the meantime, check out the photos below!