Press Release

NASA Art and Design Contestants Create Multi-Media Visions of Lunar Life

By SpaceRef Editor
July 7, 2010
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NASA Art and Design Contestants Create Multi-Media Visions of Lunar Life

NASA has selected the winners in the 2010 Life and Work on the Moon Art and Design Contest from more than 200 international student entries.

Participants envisioned an imaginative lunar lifestyle through various artistic media. Entries were accepted in many categories, including music, video, two-dimensional, three-dimensional and digital art. For the first time, poetry and short stories were accepted in a literature category.

“Offering students the opportunity to express themselves through art allows us to reach out to people who otherwise might not be able to participate in our program of exploration,” said Jerry Hartman, education lead for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Plus, the young people come up with a lot of cool stuff.”

Dalton Mills, a student at Central High School in La Crosse, Wis., was the overall winner for his video and animation entry, “Moonshot.” He was inspired by NASA documentaries, other artists, science and physics classes.

“Three-D art is a hobby of mine,” Mills said. “In the future, I would like to pursue engineering and physics and freelance my artwork.”

A panel of scientists, professional artists and educators from the U.S. and other nations judged student submissions. The judges based their reviews on three elements: the artist’s statement — which described the student’s inspiration; the artistic media they chose and why — showing creativity and artistic expression; and the validity of the created situation based on the moon’s harsh conditions.

Jim Plaxco has judged the contest for three years and runs his own digital art gallery website called Artsnova. “What I found most rewarding about the experience was having the opportunity to review the art, think about its meaning, admire its quality and read the artist’s words about their intent and inspiration,” he said.

Mitchell Peterson of Sheridan College in Sheridan, Wyo., won the college division. He created a graphite and color pencil drawing accompanied by original music called “Beyond the Atmosphere.” He also included a variety of voice and other sound bites in his music, including clips from the Apollo lunar missions and from the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Brennan Barrington, a student at Licking Heights High School in Pataskala, Texas, won the high school division. Barrington wrote a short story called “Helium 3” that was inspired by Jack London’s story, “To Build a Fire.” “It was tricky to get all the details of gravity, how the dust moves, and things that like, but I got it done,” Barrington said.

The contest is sponsored by NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate and is managed by Christopher Newport University, Newport News, Va. More than 40 entries came from non-U.S. locations including Bermuda, China, Columbia, Czech Republic, Georgia, India, Italy, Pakistan, Poland, Slovakia, Thailand, United Kingdom and Venezuela.

The top cash award was $1,000 with smaller prizes for the top finisher in each category. Top non-U.S. students received an engraved plaque to acknowledge their achievement. The winning entries will be displayed digitally in NASA and museum locations across the country. Details about a new contest will be announced in September.

For gallery viewing of winning entries, visit:

For information about NASA research and exploration programs, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.