Space Satellites As Humanity’s Final Monuments

The spacecraft EchoStar XVI will beam trillions of images into the darkness and then enter an eternal “graveyard orbit”. Artist in residence at MIT Trevor Paglen on satellites as the new pyramids:

Currently, more than 800 spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit form a man-made ring of satellites around Earth. The dead spacecraft in orbit have become a permanent fixture around Earth, not unlike the rings of Saturn. They will be the longest-lasting artifacts of human civilization, quietly floating through space long after every trace of humanity has disappeared from the planet’s surface.

Presented by public art organization Creative Time, The Last Pictures is a project to acknowledge these spacecraft as the monuments of our historical era. They are our Pyramids, our Stonehenge, and our Nazca lines.

24 Comments on "Space Satellites As Humanity’s Final Monuments"

  1. Anti-Citizen1 | Oct 14, 2012 at 1:43 pm |

    Don’t forget the various rovers and probes now, or soon to be, sitting derelict on other planets in the Solar system.

  2. Anti-Citizen1 | Oct 14, 2012 at 1:43 pm |

    Don’t forget the various rovers and probes now, or soon to be, sitting derelict on other planets in the Solar system.

  3. By the by, Trevor Paglen is going to be at the SFMOMA giving a talk and signing his book soon! Check it out!

  4. “…And when they came upon the small blue world, the only clue to it’s former masters was the metal detritus, choking the planet’s orbit.” 

  5. “…And when they came upon the small blue world, the only clue to it’s former masters was the metal detritus, choking the planet’s orbit.” 

  6. not permanent, just longer-lasting. Small traces of atmosphere even in geosync orbit enough to eventually slow down satellites into deathspirals.

  7. not permanent, just longer-lasting. Small traces of atmosphere even in geosync orbit enough to eventually slow down satellites into deathspirals.

  8. "Big" Richard Johnson | Oct 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm |

    So a new species evolves Sapiance, and finds these strange things swirling around the planet. I wonder what their theories will be on how they got there and who made them? Will they have an orange skinned weirdo with bad hair insisting that aliens did it?

  9. "Big" Richard Johnson | Oct 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm |

    So a new species evolves Sapiance, and finds these strange things swirling around the planet. I wonder what their theories will be on how they got there and who made them? Will they have an orange skinned weirdo with bad hair insisting that aliens did it?

  10. I doubt they’ll be there billions of years after we’re gone
    but the machines will surely out live us
    their reproductive organs

    the satellite created what we call modern civilization
    it finalized the construction of the Global Village
    the satellite replaced language with images and analog for digital
    it created the SkyNet we all live within

  11. I doubt they’ll be there billions of years after we’re gone
    but the machines will surely out live us
    their reproductive organs

    the satellite created what we call modern civilization
    it finalized the construction of the Global Village
    the satellite replaced language with images and analog for digital
    it created the SkyNet we all live within

  12. 1. The things we left on the Moon.
    2. The Voyager spacecrafts, the Voyagers did exactly that – send pictures and sounds from earth into space on golden records – not only that, but even the song used in the background of this video is on there.
    3. Stop dumping clutter into orbit! We can hardly take astronomical pictures, without some crap satellite ruining the picture by flying through the frame during the exposure. There is no need to fill up orbit even more. Plus: It’s so full up there, that there have been crashes between satellites. Just, NO! It’s a stupid idea.

  13. 1. The things we left on the Moon.
    2. The Voyager spacecrafts, the Voyagers did exactly that – send pictures and sounds from earth into space on golden records – not only that, but even the song used in the background of this video is on there.
    3. Stop dumping clutter into orbit! We can hardly take astronomical pictures, without some crap satellite ruining the picture by flying through the frame during the exposure. There is no need to fill up orbit even more. Plus: It’s so full up there, that there have been crashes between satellites. Just, NO! It’s a stupid idea.

  14. Calvin Ellington | Nov 12, 2012 at 7:09 pm |

    What is the name of the artist who is singing the blues?

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