Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week 9: Space and Art

Space is an interesting concept for our perceptions of space have changed leaps and bounds throughout the passage of time. The vastness of space itself, when looking only from a local perspective, have led to ancient civilizations, such as the Greeks until end of the classical period, believing in the flat Earth model, in which Earth's shape is conceptualized to be planar or disk-shaped. Similarly, this vastness had led to historical debates on the scientific accuracy of geocentrism, where all celestial bodies are propounded to revolve around the Earth. It wasn't until the 16th century that Nicolaus Copernicus, in elaborate geometrical details, proposed his heliocentric model that resolved the issue of planetary retrograde motion. 
Copernicus's heliocentric model
All these issues can be attributed to the apparent local isotropy of space, where it appears to be uniform in all directions locally. Only when we scale things up can we observe the anisotropic effects. For example, Earth appears to be 2D when observed on its surface, but it is in fact 3D (and spherical) when observed from space. Thus, to explore space, we have to develop elaborate technologies. As Prof. Vesna mentioned in her introduction video, "space" is a subject that integrates all the topics covered, such as nanotechnology, robotics, and mathematics, in this course in a coherent manner. For example, carbon nanotubes were envisioned for the the construction of space elevators, construction of spaceships and scientific instruments used in space missions all involved knowledge in robotics etc. 
Artist's conceptualization of a space elevator

In addition, space explorations have led to a huge number of remarkable technological advancements. The Hubble Space Telescope is especially noteworthy. In addition to producing some of the most detailed visible-light images of universe, it had also recorded many observations that led to breakthroughs in astrophysics, such as accurately determining the universe's rate of expansion. This is but one aspect in which space and art are inextricably linked.
Image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope

1. "Space intro." YouTube, Web. 29 May 2016.

2. "8 space pt1 1280x720." YouTube. Web. 29 May 2016. 

3. "Heliocentrism" Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, n.d. Web. 29 May. 2016.

4. "Flat Earth" Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, n.d. Web. 29 May. 2016.

5. "Hubble Space Telescope Images" European Space Agency. N.d. Web 29 May 2016. 

6. "Weekend Walkabout - Exploring the Solar System" N.p. 29 Nov. 2014. Web. 29 May 2016. 

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