When you’re thinking of setting foot on and eventually colonizing Mars, you need to get creative if you want to survive—or even convince people that the sun-blasted planet’s barren, red expanse is more appealing than it looks.
NASA’s Project Mars International Film and Art Competition has just selected its winners from more than 570 entries that imagined and reimagined how the space agency will expand to and thrive in deep space. It was an opportunity for college students and early career professionals to visualize the future of Orion, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, and the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway by creating posters and short films that looked at those missions from an astronaut’s point of view.
Rendezvous With Mars is the winning film by Mayukh Goswami, Subigya Basnet, and Divya More, selected by the NASA creative team, former astronaut Nicole Stott, and Gareth Edwards, who you might know better as the director of Rogue One. This 4-minute animated wonder goes inside the mind of an astronaut taking off for Mars as her thoughts fly between her childhood in rural India and her very near future in the final frontier. You might tear up at end. Just saying.
The poster that blew even NASA’s mind is Mars Is in Our DNA by Adrianna Allen, which stood out to both the space agency and the creative director of the McCann New York advertising agency, Joshua Grossberg. Astronauts climb a double helix ladder from Earth, through a star-scattered sky to the Red Planet, which appears close enough to leave a fingerprint on its dusty surface. You’d suddenly want to plunge into deep space too if you saw this.
NASA collaborated with Mori and Associates and SciArt Exchange, a nonprofit based on the international Humans in Space Art program, to make Project Mars happen. By integrating science with art, SciArt Exchange brings together anyone who is into space, science, and tech with art contests and events that challenge participants to push the boundaries of how we think about the power of innovation and the advancements we will keep making as our reach stretches further and further into space.
Project Mars is a visual portal that just lets us begin to fathom upcoming missions. Orion, which means to take our species further away from Earth than ever, will launch on the SLS, the ultimate heavy lift rocket and the most powerful ever built by NASA.
The way to Mars starts on Earth, and while we won’t be blasting anyone that far for a while, the journey of the human imagination is infinite.