I love the Design Museum’s building (the museum reopened in 2016 on High Street Kensington, see here) so much I can’t stop taking photographs when I am there.
This time though, I moved my attention towards the new exhibition “Moving to Mars”, which invites us to “travel to Mars in a multi-sensory adventure”. This detailed exhibition presents what we know about Mars so far and questions the feasibility of a human life on the Red Planet (if need be for humans to find another planet to inhabit).
Today, DOYOUSPEAKLONDON invits you to explore the captivating link between humans and the Red Planet…
An intelligent and thought-provoking exhibition
This exhibition is well organized in different sections, which help us to progressively embark on a strange journey…
After watching a film in a wide screen format presenting the main characteristics of the Red Planet, we are literally transported into Mars. At this point, we can only understand how ambitious the idea of a human life on Mars is, considering the temperature (about -60C), the near absence of oxygen and the intense solar radiation.
The following sections are cleverly presented and much detailed. First, you will have an overview of the growing fascination for the planet Mars or the Martians (cinema in particular played a big role in the collective imagination). Then, you will become aware of all efforts and research that have already been done to consider a possible future on Mars.
Every step of this exhibition will question the relation between science and fiction. How is it possible to imagine a life on another planet so hostile in appearance as Mars? Is there no limit to what science can deal with? The exhibition shows how determined and committed some countries, scientists, even businessmen and designers are to make it seem possible. This is the most thought-provoking exhibition I have seen in a long time.
All kinds of media are used to adapt to all audiences, even though the exhibition is recommended for children 8+, due to the complexity of the subject. In my opinion, slightly younger kids passionate about space, and particularly used to reading on the subject, could be interested in it, especially if accompanied by an adult.
I would rather say that the interactive parts of the exhibition are not good enough to be a major asset, though. I think it could have been an opportunity for the Design Museum to add interactive features to make this exhibition a real success.
The relation to Design
At first, I was surprised that the exhibition was presented in the Design Museum. First, I would have thought that the Science Museum would have been the more logical venue for such a topic.
But then, it made sense. Everything related to the research on the possibility of life on Mars is linked to design: from cloths worn by astronauts to space rockets (which means exterior and interior design) or even the conception of a futuristic architecture adapted to the new constraints of the planet Mars!
A few countries and businessmen are currently investing a lot of money to evaluate the possibility for humankind to end up living on another planet.
Actually, I am surprised how far this research has gone. Some designers have already thought about many survival options for a life on Mars, beyond the most important ones (like how to breath, drink and eat there).
For example, the exhibition shows that some researchers have thought of the smells we would need to bring with us on Mars to survive (as our protected life there would be over sterile and free of familiar smells, which would be devastating for humans ultimately).
A full scale Mars Home, by Hassell
This kind of big tent is called “Mars habitat” designed by HASSELL in partnership with Eckersley O’Callaghan (EOC).
This is an exciting part of the exhibition as we can really feel how life on Mars could be like.
First inside, with all furniture and accessories adapted to what we would need on Mars and the constraints of space. Then, a video in front of us makes us realize the reality of such a life on a hostile planet. Very interesting.
What about life on Earth ?
This whole exhibition is about the likeliness of humans moving to Mars. All seems to be a question of observing Mars characteristics and adapting to them to survive on the Red Planet.
But what some people put as a (questionable) optional solution also questions the way we will be treating the Earth in the near future … If there is no future for men on Mars, how will we survive on Earth?
I found this exhibition really interesting in the way it stresses the major axes for reflexion on how humans could possibly live on Mars. There also remains the underlying question of how to take care of the Earth until human life on another planet becomes possible (if ever)?
To go further:
Moving to Mars exhibition, until 23 February 2020
Design Museum: 224 – 238 Kensington High Street W8 6AG