Guwahati: Assam native Priyanka Das Rajkakati, a space scientist and artist, is all set to send her artwork to the Moon in a compact form by 2022. Her artwork, called ‘Bhedadipika – an illustration of Duality’, is inspired by her Indian roots and the Vedic influence.
Meanwhile, Rajkakati has also been selected for a two-week mission through European Space Agency to take part in an astronaut simulation on the Hawaii – Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) base in Hawaii, USA.
The 27-year-old is one of the six analogue-astronauts for the third mission, EMMIHS-III. Her mission starts on Wednesday.
Speaking with EastMojo, Rajkakati said, “Through such simulation missions we advance science about space exploration, and focus not just on science, but on more human aspects like crew compatibility, cultural interactions, and daily survival techniques.”
“Yes, there will be test spacesuits involved,” she added.
Rajkakati, who is a space artist, also designed the team patches for the mission.
The HI-SEAS base at an elevation 2,500 metres, is located on the slopes of Mauna Loa Volcano in Hawaii, and resembles the surface of the Moon with its lava caves and lava tubes, making the analogue environment a great training ground for astronaut-simulation missions.
HI-SEAS is a part of the initiatiative called EuroMoonsMars under which field campaigns take place in Moon-Mars analogue environments – basically regions on Earth that resemble other planets/space bodies.
Rajkakati will be working on several projects about the Moon this year, and in one of them, she is collaborating to send artwork to Moon.
The Moon Gallery by ArtMoonMars, is an international collaborative artwork and a gallery of ideas worth sending to the Moon. Moon Gallery intends to launch 100 artifacts to the Moon within the compact format of a 10 x 10 x 1 cm plate on a lunar lander exterior panelling as early as 2022. As it costs 1 million euros/kg to send something to the Moon, these artists proposed to hence miniaturise the gallery. The idea is to develop culture for a future interplanetary society in this petri dish-like gallery.
ArtMoonMars was initiated by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) set up the Committee for the Cultural Utilisation of Space (ITACCUS) to highlight the importance of artists with respect to space exploration.
Speaking with EastMojo, Rajkakati said that inspired by her Indian roots and the Vedic influence, she named her work ‘Bhedadipika – an illustration of Duality’. She added that “‘Bhédadīpikā’ is an attempt at mixing Art, Space and a bit of technology. Through this work I experiment with the final duality of my own character: Artist/Scientist. It is one of my first submissions to a formal exhibition with other artists, and with what a grand gallery: The Moon!”
Talking about future projects she said, “My next art-science project is going to be as an “artist-in-residence” at the European Geosciences Union conference in Vienna this May, where for the first time I would be at a planetary-science conference not as a scientist, but as an artist. I will be interacting with the conference speakers and translating their scientific research into art.”