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.

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  • Anti-Citizen1

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

  • Anti-Citizen1

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

  • http://twitter.com/Breshvic Breshvic Penicillin

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

    • Jesse Townley

      Cool! I can’t wait to see him again!

    • Jesse Townley

      Cool! I can’t wait to see him again!

      • Jesse Townley

        Wait, it already happened last Thursday. Curses!

         http://www.sfmoma.org/exhib_events/events/2161

      • Jesse Townley

        Wait, it already happened last Thursday. Curses!

         http://www.sfmoma.org/exhib_events/events/2161

  • RoboKy

    “…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.” 

  • RoboKy

    “…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.” 

    • http://twitter.com/treesareweird Dominic Eve

       What is this from? Its a really beautiful line.

    • http://twitter.com/treesareweird Dominic Eve

       What is this from? Its a really beautiful line.

      • RoboKy

        I actually just thought it up on the spot.  The whole idea behind this article got the creative juices flowing.

      • RoboKy

        I actually just thought it up on the spot.  The whole idea behind this article got the creative juices flowing.

  • alizardx

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

  • alizardx

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

  • “Big” Richard Johnson

    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?

  • “Big” Richard Johnson

    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?

    • Anti-Citizen1

      But it’s such great meme fodder!

    • Anti-Citizen1

      But it’s such great meme fodder!

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    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

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    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

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000598551309 Till Nyman

    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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000598551309 Till Nyman

    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.

  • Calvin Ellington

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

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