NASA Juno & Eindhoven Airport
Created at Eindhoven Airprort during a lengthy sprint of visits to the local Starbucks and airport panorama terrace. Taking in the views and busy energy of people, machines and majestic aircraft moving, living and breathing life into an otherwise quiet area of Eindhoven city. It was the beginning of an evening in the Netherlands on July 4th 2016 when NASA Juno quietly arrived at Jupiter after a chilly five year journey from Earth.
NASA’s announcement was anything but quiet, spreading quickly on social media. Twitter bursting with excitement about the milestone, live streams pumping video of excited expert scientists who’d been waiting for the kickoff for the past five years.
Wildly enthusiastic panels of science experts across the globe relaying incoming news as quick as it came from NASA HQ sending waves throughout the public consciousphere.
The Juno scientists themselves broadcast with an apprehensive yet confident tone awaiting the first signs of a data stream arriving directly from Jupiter when Juno – for the first time ever, spoke directly to Earth confirming successful insertion into Jovian orbit.
Even from within NASA HQ, the July 4th celebrations underway outside could be heard, eruptions of fireworks clearly audible in the background as the American public illuminated the sky with rapturous explosions of light & sound. A fitting soundtrack of earthly Independence Day celebrations, tied into a a historically inspiring moment for all to admire around the globe as the live Juno scientists announced the acquisition of signal, racing to determine if the first of several monumentally difficult trajectory adjustments meant a successful orbital insertion.
Juno had arrived. The first dedicated probe to take up temporary residence orbiting the gas giant. Gleaning up-close images and data for detailed analysis of the monumentally massive planet. This was no small feat as Jupiter has a dangerous and extremely hazardous environment that reaches far out into space, way beyond the planet’s atmosphere. The highly volatile electromagnetic radiation from Jupiter is sufficient to disrupt electronics at great distance, so Juno was built with hardened electronics to (hopefully) survive the bombardment by the Jovian environment- especially highly charged particles trapped in Jupiter’s vast & dangerous Van Allen belts.
Joining the excitement- the team that physically launched Juno on a ULA Atlas V rocket as well as the NASA Juno team themselves announced an impromptu competition inviting the public to participate contributing artworks to mark the celebration.
The competition piqued my interest instantly, as soon as I saw the invitation it was as if a huge spark leapt across my mind causing a vision that cascaded into an overwhelming sense of urgency to create- a jolt that seemed to run up the spine, the foundations of reality appeared to flex & vibrate- a sensation that is best described as one of those “oh my god” moments as childhood memories of poring over encyclopaedias, space books, technical manuals- anything I could get my thirsty hands on flooded back with a vengeance. Dormant for decades, now they had purpose.
That’s what the inspiration felt like.
We were sat inside the upstairs restaurant taking in the very last glimpses of the glorious sunscape as it set the airport alight with intensely golden hues, I had just finished sipping the last of the whipped cream from a frappuccino when I flipped my pad sketch app open and began- a process still very new to me at the time. This would be my Second painting, I decided, and with that- I flipped on the autopilot and flew into the night.
I rolled in to bed approximately 8 hours later yet social media was still ablaze with tweets about Juno, the excitement was palpable – tangible evidence that people still get it. What you see above is a result of that night’s energy.
An unexpected update
Woohoo!! Approximately a month later, a FedEx package arrived here in the Netherlands- heavy for its size. Here is the “unboxing” video of it.
With compliments of Tory Bruno, the CEO and president of ULA Launch (ULALaunch.com).
I am not ashamed to admit that when I first opened the packet together with my wife Ilona, this chunky metal thing slipped out, I completely lost it.
From me, A most profound thank you.
But there is more…
Not satisfied that the painting was actually finished, the final touches came a little later- after capturing light from a very special place (De Efteling) this inspired the final touches in the form of electromagnetic radiation, a significant part of the research done by Juno as part of the scientific endeavour to understand exactly how dangerous Jupiter is for humans and technology. It’s worthy noting that Juno only will be able to orbit a finite number of times around Jupiter before the gravitational pull of Jupiter takes Juno on a collision course with the Jovian giant.
Seriously, on the day before my birthday?