Three Space Oddities and a Jeweller
July 13 - August 3
There is a lot of gold in space.
In 2017 scientists detected a burst of gravitational waves from what they believed was an ultra-powerful collision between two neutron stars. Through analysis of these tiny ripples in the fabric of space, it was revealed that the debris included gold.
These types of collisions act as a cosmic forge producing gold and other precious metals. The collision then flings them out into the universe as a glowing gas cloud, which explains the source of gold and other heavy metals on Earth.
“It’s estimated that the 2017 collision created about as much gold as the mass of the Earth,” says Professor Andrew Levan of Warwick University, one of the astronomers analysing the event. Gold from the neutron star collision will seed future planetary systems forming hundreds of millions or billions of years in the future. Our descendants will not see any of it and Earth will not produce more gold.
Space Gold 1, brooch. Mild steel, gold foil and gold patina
Space Gold 2, brooch. Mild steel, gold foil and gold patina
Space Gold 3, brooch. Mild steel, gold foil and gold patina
There is also a lot of stuff floating about in space.
More than 500,000 pieces of man-made debris, or “space junk,” currently orbit Earth. Such debris includes non-functional spacecraft, abandoned launch vehicle stages and space mission-related debris fragments. Travelling at speeds up to 17,500 mph, they are fast enough for even a small piece to destroy a satellite, damage spacecraft and cause danger for humans occupying the International Space Station. Any new travel to space adds more.
Space Junk 1, brooch. Mild steel, paint
Space Junk 2, brooch. Mild steel, paint
Space Junk 3, brooch. Mild steel, paint
Space Junk 4, brooch. Mild steel, paint
Space Junk 5, brooch. Mild steel, paint
Space Junk 6, brooch. Mild steel, paint
Space Junk 7, brooch. Mild steel, paint
The true cost of space travel
Do we really need tourists and actors in space?
Recently technology entrepreneur Elon Musk made two announcements. The first was that up to four passengers will be able to hire SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft for a joyride around the Earth. The second was that Tom Cruise will partner with SpaceX to make the first film in space. SpaceAdventures, a US tourism firm that helped eight wealthy enthusiasts visit the International Space Station between 2001 and 2009, will also broker these space experiences reportedly costing $30 million per passenger. NASA officials suggest that the cost of flying to the International Space Station could be around $58 million per person. Either way the question remains – Does anyone really need Tom Cruise to shoot a movie in space?
So Tom, what’s your new movie about?
X1, brooch. Mild steel, paint
X2, brooch. Mild steel, paint
X3, brooch. Mild steel, paint
X4, brooch. Mild steel, paint
X5, brooch. Mild steel, paint
X6, brooch. Mild steel, paint
'This is Cruise control to Major Tom'. The maniacal call sign of the consummate and consumed movie star, Tom Cruise, booms across the ego-phallicly proportioned cockpit.
Also along for the ride, Becky Bliss is sitting in Tom’s Space X rocket-tin can. Far above the world, she can see Planet Earth. Today it's glowing blue. Earlier, she rashly dashed on board to see if there really is something she can do.
Back on earth, in her studio, where Becky’s designs were being galvanized by dreams of the golden smithereens of exploded asteroids, our earthly emissary was also wondering why Tom Cruise had declared his mission to disintegrate his vast fortune on an astronomical film set in space. Why not share his monetary beneficence instead? Was he blind to the many gaping craters of need on his own planet?
Becky has created a collection emulating the flotsam of space junk traversing the Milky Way, far above her house in Wellington.
'Tom', Becky announces firmly across his spaceship shaft, 'you've really made the grade'. Bewitched by the shards of cosmic geometry she has jig sawed into place, Tom's extra-terrestrial-sized ambitions of excellence are instead wooed and won over by her art.
Together they sketch out the plot for a new religion of human generosity, of which Tom Cruise will be high priest and Becky’s broaches the emblem. 'You and your project are a waste of space in this vortex', she declares. 'It's time to leave this capsule of your existence. If you dare?'