Issue 13
Tuesday, 02 August 2016
Charles Darwin University
E-news
PhD candidate Isadora Mack with Senior Lecturer in Visual Arts Dr Ioannis Michaloudis and her painting, “The Spinning Top”
PhD candidate Isadora Mack with Senior Lecturer in Visual Arts Dr Ioannis Michaloudis and her painting, “The Spinning Top”

Space junk sees artists turning to the clouds

By Katie Weiss

A pair of artists at Charles Darwin University has proposed a creative and useful solution to the problem of space junk orbiting the Earth.

PhD candidate Isadora Mack recently told an international conference that the huge volume of space debris could be transformed into cloud-like sculptures to shade an overheated planet.

Isadora presented a paper, jointly written with CDU Senior Lecturer in Visual Arts Dr Ioannis Michaloudis, at the International Conference on Earth Science and Climate Change in Bangkok. 

Dr Michaloudis said Isadora was the only artist to speak at the science-focused conference.

“Artists have a broad imagination that could be used to create alternative solutions to scientific problems,” he said.

“We offer the mythology while the scientists offer the methodology.”

He said the paper proposed to use space technology, known as “silica aerogel”, to gather the space debris before placing it over parts of the world that were most exposed to the sun.

A series of acrylic and oil paintings by Isadora and silica aerogel sculptures by Dr Michaloudis accompanied the paper.

Dr Michaloudis was the first artist to create sculptures from the silica aerogel nanomaterial, which is used by United States space agency NASA to trap cosmic dust.