I was having coffee with my good friends Ben Ashman, a brilliant storyteller and a researcher/engineer at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, when we decided to collaborate on a story about space and human perception. I learned that most space missions are either flybys or orbiters. Among fewer landing missions, there are only 6 bodies in space from which we have horizon images. These photographs from Mars, the Moon, Titan, Venus, and asteroid Ryugu provide a fertile ground for a study of interpretative storytelling to engage the public in space exploration and beyond.

I crafted a short story to talk about these terrestrial bodies and the role of facts (aerial vs horizon photography) and imaginative stories in conversing about barren and unfamiliar landscapes. I plan to add an interactive (perhaps even immersive) element to the project in the future to solicit community input in creatively re-imagining the rare horizon images.

In the spirit of learning and building together, I thought I would share the components of the video:

My good friend Sam Chintha recorded the tune for the video, using the loop recording of Weddell seal (which reminds him of old time UFO space ship sound effects) and the sound of the wind on Saturn’s moon Titan (recorded by the Cassni’s Hyugens probe). Enjoy Seals in Space!

The following horizon shots of Mars, the Moon, Titan, Venus, and Ryugu are available to public as these were shot by NASA, the USSR Academy of Sciences, and the Japanese Space Agency.

This is a PDF of the final script of the video.

This is a short audio excerpt from my initial meeting with Ben and his thoughts on the way humans explore:

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All content by Tatev Sargsyan (unless otherwise noted), licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.