Space junk sees artists turning to the clouds

18-Jul-2016

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”


A pair of Darwin artists is proposing a creative and useful solution to the problem of space junk orbiting the Earth.

A Charles Darwin University PhD candidate will tell an international conference this month that the huge volume of space debris could be transformed into cloud-like sculptures to shade an overheated planet.

Isadora Mack will present 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 this month. 

Dr Michaloudis said Isadora would be 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 will accompany 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.

The conference will be held in Bangkok from 25 to 27 July.

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