Would you be moving to Mars if you had the chance? I’m sure it has even crossed the mind of those of you not even that into space travel like the nerd that I am: what would it be like to live on another planet?
Well, the new exhibition at the Design Museum in London (England) explores this exact question – into detail.
I paid a visit together with Nick and can already give away a spoiler: this interactive exhibition is definitely interesting for both space-geeks as people that prefer to keep both feet on planet earth.
Curious? Keep reading!
MOVING TO MARS EXHIBITION
DESIGN MUSEUM IN LONDON
If you are not familiar with the Design Museum in Kensington, West London, in short you could say it’s a museum that covers all things design: from product design to industrial and graphic design, to fashion and architectural design.
There is always a main collection that is free to visit (which shows you, among other things, how the design for the London Underground logo and interior of the carriages came to be), but there is always a special exhibition with a more niche topic.
This time, it’s one I’ve been counting the days off to visit: it’s all about living on Mars! *insert my geek enthusiasm*
As you might know, I’m a huge fan of everything space related (I even launched a new website called “The Space Tester“) and while I’m personally not immediately up for a trip into space (I’d like a few more years of test runs please), I am very curious about all the different disciplines looking into what it takes for humans to go into space and -maybe even more- everything we can learn from and implement here on earth as a result of all those studies and experiments.
THE EXHIBITION SPACE
As soon as I enter the exhibition space, this is exactly what I hear other people say: ‘Ah, I didn’t think about it like that’, says one girl after reading a quote on the wall saying “Some say we should fix this world first… But learning to survive on Mars might help us to save the earth”.
That there is an incredible amount of research being done by a huge variety of specialists in different fields, is one of the things I believe I most take away from this exhibition, featuring over 200 objects, including contributions from NASA, ESA and SpaceX.
Throughout the exhibition, you go through 6 different sections (Imagining Mars, On Mars Today, The Voyage, Survival, Mars Futures and Down to Earth), each introduced in a video message by a specialist (among who astronaut Tim Peake, scientist Professor Sanjeev Gupta, climate activist Venetia Falconer and Astronomer Royal Martin Rees).
Every section explores the themes in terms of the role that design plays in keeping the future Martians safe during travel and after landing, and shows you what working with Mars’ limited resources could teach about designing more sustainably on Earth.
MISSION TO MARS OVERVIEW
For a full review of all the sections in this exhibition, have a look over at The Space Tester blog > >
1. IMAGINING MARS
Ways that scientific progress shaped our visions of Mars. From the early astronomers to modern day Mars Rover missions.
2. ON MARS TODAY
Enjoy the high resolution images of Mars made by the Mariner 4 spacecraft in 1965 and let it sink in just how inhospitable the planet actually is. Are we sure this is where we want to live?
3. THE VOYAGE
The journey to Mars will be challenging but there are plenty people willing to try! This section covers the Martian diet, daily life, exercise and the effect be of the profound separation of planet earth.
Shelter will be crucial on Mars and architects have already been imagining many different ways we can build habitats on the barren planet.
Sustainability on Mars will be a big topic and one that can be of great importance of our lives on earth as well.
5. MARS FUTURES
The last sections of the exhibition talk more about the reasons why we would want to go to Mars in the first place. Is Mars a lifeboat for humans when we f— it up on earth, or is there more to it?
6. DOWN TO EARTH
We end the exhibition back on earth (pfew!) and learn that previous space missions have brought us many good things, such as CAT scans, computer microchips, memory foam and even joysticks, but it also transformed the way we think as a species.
Can we achieve a new environmental path aimed at preserving our planet without us having to risk the dangers of a mission to Mars? Or does the rigor of an actual mission make it more likely that we will develop the efficient systems and thinking required to preserve life on Earth?
I loved the exhibition! Not only was there a lot to see and do in all the different rooms itself, the exhibition gave so much to think about after you left the building.
The sections about visualizing what the day-to-day life on Mars would look like were my favourite, with input from architects, clothing designers and people tackling problems concerning safety, food and mental health issues.
You don’t really realize just how many disciplines have to work together in order to make space travel happen and I think this exhibition did a wonderful job giving a bit of insights into that.
How do you feel about going to Mars? I would love to hear it in the comments!
NOTE: The “Moving to Mars” Exhibition closed on 23 February 2020.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
Moving to Mars – Design Museum London
Address: 224-238 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8 6AG
Metro Stop: High Street Kensington
Opening Hours: 10:00 to 18:00 (daily, including weekends)
Disclaimer: We paid for our own entry, all photos are our own.
Location of London Design Museum: