On The Beach
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The Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity has been sending home some amazing images lately.
This one definitely caught everyone’s eye – a beautiful view of the Rover’s current goal, the crater called Endeavour and an even more distant crater called Iazu.
Views like these certainly inspire explorers, but they also inspire artists and poets.
Once again, my good friend Stuart Atkinson has produced some wonderful words to express the emotion of seeing this sight through Opportunity’s eyes. I have also taken the chance to act as an artist, painting my own view of this scene to include in a new poster.
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UPDATE: For anyone interested, I have posted the full resolution of my artwork created to accompany Stuart’s poem here. Feel free to download it, but please note that it is NOT a scientifically accurate representation of the view ahead of Opportunity.
This artwork was created by me for the purposes of illustration only and must only be regarded in that light. It is a fanciful, artistic representation only. No one truly knows what this now ‘distant vista’ will look like when Opportunity gets up close. The view will change dramatically as more of these ‘hills’ come into view over the local horizon.
The Mars Opportunity is on a ‘journey’, heading for a destination that it may or may not reach. It may take another year or two before she reaches the foot of those hills that are only now being hinted at in thereal images she is sending back.
Like any land that has been explored here on Earth, there are artists who have captured a sense of what they have seen to spark the interest of others to go there. Think of the amazing artistry of those in the late 1950s and early 60s who showed what it may look like when humans explored the Moon – they depicted craggy peaks, sharp rocks, fanciful spacecraft and colourful spacesuits – their illustrations were a far cry from the reality of the Apollo lunar missions.
I am in no way in the same class as those artists – my work is simply an outlet for my own creativity and comes from an intense personal interest in the exploration of space. Like Stuart Atkinson’s poetry, it is a way to express to a wider audience the passion we have for space, science, and the human desire – our need – to explore and travel to distant shores.