Apollo and the Muses: a preliminary discussion of the cultural and technical inspirational knowledge embedded in the lunar space arts of an analogue mission

Sarah Jane Pell, David G. Barnes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch


Nine contemporary art and cultural research projects were integrated within a 15-day isolated and confined lunar analogue mission simulation. The mission architecture, uniquely customised and curated for the specific parameters of the LunAres Moon/Mars Station in Poland, 2018, also played to the strengths and interests of the transdisciplinary SPECTRA crew. As mission commander, responsible for crew selection, cohesion and project curation, my practice focused on human expression and performance, and the challenges of broadcast and communication. For the duration of the SPECTRA mission, I collaborate with the Monash Immersive Visualisation Platform [MIVP] and various remote partners including Lucy Electric LLC and Space Garden Company. MIVP teams produced tools for spatial awareness during simulated EVAs in terrestrial analogue sites, and post-processing large data transmission between global sites for affective visualisation in the CAVE2 and the Monash Future Control Room. Together we designed tactical laboratories for experimental arts to support performance within extreme operational isolated confined environments. Artefacts included immersive media, mixed reality, human-robotic interaction design, and new systems for live art and translocation communication and interdisciplinary human performance research published in Live, and VR formats. Outcomes were real and speculative, poetic and practical with high technical cultural value and human factors benefits during and post-mission. The success of the SPECTRA mission demonstrated ways that the cultural and technical cooperation embedded in the lunar space arts program could give value to the arts and science goals of missions today. Our inspiration was the Apollo programme. While primarily about space exploration, it also represented a meeting of political, technological and ontological paradigms through a global media spectacle, to become a significant moment in cultural exploration. Apollo broadcast and communication achievements for example, conjured inspirational and practical knowledge useful for future lunar mission architectures and the lunar analogue SPECTRA mission.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication70th International Astronautical Congress
EditorsS. Somanath
Place of PublicationWashington DC USA
PublisherInternational Astronautical Federation (IAF)
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventInternational Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2019 - Washington, United States of America
Duration: 21 Oct 201925 Oct 2019
Conference number: 70th

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
ISSN (Print)0074-1795


ConferenceInternational Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2019
Abbreviated titleIAC 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
Internet address
  • Richard Move

    Sarah Jane Pell (Host)

    4 Sept 201812 Oct 2018

    Activity: Hosting a visitor types​Hosting an academic or industry visitor

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