STARBASE: The Asteroid Incident

Eyebeam is pleased to present STARBASE: The Asteroid Incident, an installation presenting artifacts uncovered by Final Frontier Design (FFD) from a semi-fictitious United States Air Force mission to an asteroid. STARBASE: The Asteroid Incident is on display in the Eyebeam Window Gallery from December 11, 2010 – January 8, 2011.

In STARBASE, FFD will display several relics from the original fabricated USAF mission, including components of the custom STARBASE spacesuits, a satellite mock up and a model of the centrifugally deployed communications dish fated to accidentally destroy the entire mission.  The installation includes a 50+ slide report exploring the history and importance of this under-documented moment in US space exploration, and is presented in an asteroid-landscape environment. While the mission is false, the relics are quite real: the satellite and communications dish models are based on actual NASA/JAXA/ESA designs, and deal with current space design issues like centrifugal deployment to create large structures in space and solar panel tracking to maximize electrical efficiency.

Most importantly, the space suit garments, presented as relics from STARBASE, are functional pressure tight objects developed by FFD and designed for testing under current NASA protocol.  Design and fabrication of functional pressure garments for space suits is the primary mission of FFD. In the Window Gallery installation, these relics help to tell a story mocking the inherently militaristic goals of space exploration and their tendency to secrecy and failure, even when “failure is not an option.”   STARBASE, or Solar Trajectory and RADAR Ballistics Ancillary Strategic Enclosure, was a mission with a benign scientific public face, while its actual military goals were hidden deep within.

FFD is a partnership between Ted Southern, artist/inventor and resident at Eyebeam, and Nikolay Moiseev, a Russian engineer.

People: Ted Southern
Tags: Space