NEW YORK CITY — Sharing the wonders of the universe through the eyes of the James Webb Space Telescope has been incredibly well received since the first images were released. Adding a third dimension to imagery, conceptual artist Ashley Zelinskie’s art exhibition ‘Unfolding the Universe: First Light’ offers a unique view that includes 3D printed sculptures, holograms, reality experience virtual and more.
During a preview exhibit at ONX studios in New York on October 5, Space.com got to see these artistic interpretations of the James Webb Space Telescopeand we spoke with Zelinskie about the work that was created with NASA’s Webb team as consultants.
One of the artworks featured is a copper 3D print of the South Ring Nebula, taken from one of the first photos of Webb revealed to the public in July. The print, Zelinksie said, has aquamarine gemstones in the center, which contain beryllium, the ultra-light metal from which the main mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope is made.
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The “Southern Ring Nebula” piece is a “generative work of art,” Zelinskie said, which was created using multiple data points from the Webb image and the nebula’s distance from Earth. The artist added that each star in the piece is a “James Webb star” with the characteristic six points as seen in Webb imagery, which are an artifact of the hexagonal mirror segments that collect incoming light. This “star pattern” is visible throughout the exhibit, Zelinskie revealed.
Zelinskie was very meticulous when creating each piece in the exhibit, going back and forth with NASA scientists to “ensure the artwork is not only beautiful, but also scientifically accurate.” She said her goal was to “depict the mission or the science behind it in a respectful and accurate way.”
One of the main attractions of the exhibit is a stunning 3D print of the space telescope primary mirror, which includes all of its 18 hexagonal segments and three human arms extending from its core. The artwork is called “JWST Exploration” and its “arms extend from the main JWST mirror as if reaching through a portal to the ends of the universe,” according to the description on Zelinskie’s website.
The arms were created from 3D scans of the real arms of astrophysicist and Nobel laureate John Cromwell Mather, associate scientist for NASA’s JWST science communications project, astrophysicist Amber Straughn and Zelinskie herself. same. Straughn has been friends with Zelinskie for several years since he met in a clean room at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center while Webb was still on Earth.
Another highlight of the exhibition is a virtual reality experience that visitors can take part in. NASA retired astronaut Mike Massimino can be seen in the image below giving the VR glasses and controller a spin. Massimino told Space.com that he truly admires what Zelinskie has created “taking these marvels of engineering and scientific discoveries and being able to convert them into art that also tells us the story of science.”
Massimino and Zelinskie collaborated on stone reconstructions of astronaut gloves he wore on NASA’s STS-125 mission to repair the The Hubble Space Telescope and are planning a future art exhibit together, they revealed.
The VR experience “teleports” visitors to a “sky” gallery, where they can experience artist Ashley Zelinskie’s virtual installation, “according to its website. You can move 3D animated versions of the sculpture” Exploration JWST” and “interactive portraits The James Webb Space Telescope team.” Check out a preview of the VR experience in the video below.
The exhibition also includes a room dedicated to Webb’s first deep-field image of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723. A screen print of the image and an interactive “Lite-Brite” version are on display, into which visitors can insert colored plastic pegs that light up like the classic toy.
You can also see Webb’s inspired holograms Stephan Quintet image and other space-inspired artwork to complete this cosmic experience. The slideshow of images above features our favorites.
The free exhibit runs through October 23 and features several guest speakers from NASA. You can register to attend these conferences on Eventbrite.
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