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Pascal Lee Mars Crater Drive-By, 2020


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Santa Clara, United States

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Pascal Lee, Mars Crater Drive-By
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About the work
  • Medium

    Painting : oil

  • Dimensions cm | inch

    18 x 24 x 1 inch

  • Support

    Painting on board

  • Framing

    Not framed

  • Type

    Unique work

  • Authenticity

    Work sold with an invoice from the gallery
    and a certificate of authenticity

  • Signature

    Hand-signed by artist

  • About the artwork

    Artwork sold in perfect condition

    We stopped by this little fresh crater in Utopia and EVA'd by ATV to the rim.

    This painting depicts two pressurized rovers, each escorted by two smaller robotic ATVs (All-Terrain Vehicles), traversing the Martian landscape. This concept of operation stems from the field lessons my teammates and I have learned over the years on the NASA HMP (Haughton-Mars Project) on Devon Island in the Arctic.
    Firstly, pressurized rovers should always go out on traverses in at least pairs, so that one rover may rescue the other if one rover becomes immobilized. The lead pressurized rover normally serves as the exploration vehicle, while the second rover focuses on logistical and safety support, for instance comms relay. The second rover will minimize risk by following in the exact path blazed by the first rover, provided it proves safe of course.
    Secondly, the ATVs serve as self-driving robotic scouts and also as drivable unpressurized individual astronaut transports once a region of interest (ROI) is reached and local short-range (< 2km) EVAs are needed (EVA stands for Extra-Vehicular Activity, meaning any activity requiring an astronaut to be in a spacesuit). Each ATV is a mobile PLSS (Portable Life Support System) and remains in close proximity to the astronaut it is assigned to during EVAs. This allows the Mars astronaut's spacesuit to carry less oxygen and smaller batteries, thus helping make the suit lighter. ATVs may also be positioned to serve as comms relays. In a contingency, each ATV can carry two astronauts.

    In this painting, wide trails show where the column of vehicles went. As the column approached the crater, the explorers first rounded the rougher parts of the ejecta blanket and examined a few large distal ejecta blocks. Then, a smoother approach path was taken to get closer to the crater's rim. The pressurized rovers were parked shy of the rim itself, and the astronauts went on EVA, taking ATVs to reach the rim crest and eventually back to their pressurized rovers. They created tighter ATV trails in the process.

    The dark circles to the left are where I left my coffee pot and coffee mug. Just kidding! They are "palimpsests", heavily eroded older craters reduced to barely visible scars in the landscape.

    Signed by the artist at lower left and in the back.
    Artist's label affixed to the back.
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Origin: United States
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Pascal Lee

United States

I am a planetary scientist who loves to draw and paint. My artwork is about space and time, and our tiny yet hopeful place in their vastness. I draw and paint about our distant past, events we've survived, our profound cosmic loneliness, and where we might go from here. 

Mars is the challenge of our time. Humans going to Mars will be greatest adventure in space exploration this century. Beyond Mars, we will journey to Saturn's moon, Titan, and one day, to the stars and deep into spacetime.

I have in my garage a primitive spacetime machine in which I can, at considerable risk, visit distant worlds and other epochs. My artwork is the travel log.

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Pascal Lee, Mars Crater Drive-By
Pascal Lee, Mars Crater Drive-By Pascal Lee, Mars Crater Drive-By