DNA and Spaceflight
To Space, From Earth
Space Art DNA Capsule
Beyond Earth creates artworks to reference life on Earth and the current challenges we face referencing human population growth, consumption and degradation, and preservation of Earth’s biodiversity. Artworks reflect on our current geological age of the Anthropocene, where human activity has a dominant effect on climate and the environment. The artists chose to store this message of human impact in DNA, which is present in nearly all living organisms, to symbolize life on Earth. These artworks serve as a visual record of this current time; they reflect challenges of today to inspire new approaches for a better future. Beyond Earth presents these artworks to encourage a shift from a human-centric worldview to be more encompassing of all inhabitants.
Better Morrow, 2020
Acrylic, oil, and collage, on panel
10 x 10 inches
Biodiversity in Space, 2020
Plants, bacteria, and human DNA
A Thousand to One, 2020
Acrylic on panel
10 x 10 inches
To store the artworks in DNA, they are digitized and converted from binary data to the DNA bases represented by the letters A, T, G and C. The encoded DNA sequences are synthesized using a silicon-based platform and preserved in a specialized capsule built for spaceflight. DNA is nature’s oldest and most resilient data storage method; no energy or maintenance is required to preserve it, it is ultra-dense and hence compact; and lasts hundreds of thousands of years making it the ultimate time capsule for any digitized artwork. For these reasons, To Space, From Earth will endure the test of time and serve as an important record of human history and the biosphere.
Beyond Earth will co-create with space, revealing how spaceflight transforms and evolves artworks, and how space preserves or alters their message over time. Beyond Earth is not only exploring the unique storage capabilities of DNA, but also testing data retrieval when DNA is exposed to the harsh elements of space.
Twist Bioscience is a pioneer in DNA Data Storage, and the first company to publicly commercialize their DNA writing technology for data storage. Twist is now collaborating with multimedia artists to use their cutting-edge biotechnology as a tool for archiving and preserving artwork and culture to inform citizens of the future of this current era. All known digital storage mediums today will become obsolete or fail during the lifetime of an artwork that should inspire current and future generations for centuries. DNA is positioned as the best archival storage medium to store precious data that should last centuries or longer.
DNA Data Storage
Time capsule simulation at HI-SEAS
The Hawai‘i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) is a Mars and Moon exploration analog research station, currently operated by the International MoonBase Alliance. Located approximately 8,200 feet above sea level, the HI-SEAS habitat is a 1,200 square foot dome located on a Mars-like site along the Mauna Loa mountain range on Hawaii Island.
Exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT)
Image credit: Kenta Hasegawa / Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo