Our Applications class has a different speaker come every week. Our group project is to create a response to the speaker we are assigned. Fortunately, my group got Carter Emmart.
Carter is the Director of Astrovisualization at the American Museum of Natural History. Carter had a lifelong dream of getting to Mars, and pursued it in one fashion or another for most of his life. As the Director of Astrovisualization, he was able to conceive of an experience that takes us well beyond Mars, and in fact has reframed his existential view of the Universe and space travel's necessity.
Carter is a unique and dynamic man whose thoughts and stories tumble and speed forward almost indiscriminately. But for someone who has dealt with science, space and institutions for all of his professional life, he is remarkably kind, thoughtful, fun-loving and spiritual. He said many things to our class, and many more when we had the opportunity to get a privately guided tour of the universe from him at the Planetarium, but he said two things that stuck out to me. The first was that the astronauts he'd make had shared with him that one of the most awe-striking events in space is actually looking back at how beautiful the Earth is. And the second was that after years of trying to be an astronaut and get to Mars in person, he would now rather stay on Earth. He realized that technology had gotten to a place where it seemed unnecessary and wasteful to spend billions of dollars getting humans to touch a destination in outer space when there was so much work and aid to be done for the lifeforms we already know exist.
That perspective resonated with me and had a fair amount of empathy and logic in it.
So as a response, my group (John Capogna, GJ Lee and Xeudi Chen) decided to make an expressionistic montage that touched on the beauty, thoughtfulness, smallness and bigness of both Carter's perspective and Carter's personality.
This is our piece.