It could be claimed that human space exploration started when the former Soviet Union (USSR) launched cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into Earth orbit on 12 April 1961. Since that time there have been numerous human space missions taking American astronauts to the Moon and international crews to orbiting space stations. Several space agencies are now working towards the next major space objective which is to send astronauts to Mars. This will undoubtedly be the most complex and far-reaching human space mission ever undertaken. Because of its large scale and potentially high cost it is inevitable that such a mission will be an international collaborative venture with a profile that will be world-wide.
Although science, technology and engineering have made considerable contributions to human space missions and will be very much involved with a human Mars mission, there has been scant regard for artistic and cultural involvement in these missions.
Space agencies have, however, realised the influence of public perception on space funding outcomes and for some time have strived to engage the public in these space missions. This has provided an opportunity for an art and cultural involvement, but there is a problem for art engaging with space missions as currently there is no artform specific to understanding and tackling the issues of art beyond our planet.
This thesis involves research to recognise these issues and establish a foundation for a form of art that I refer to as Exoart, from which art can build a bridge to connect meaningfully with our new space future.