Art & the Cosmic Connection
Elements of Art Inspire Planetary Image Analysis
Art & the Cosmic Connection is an interdisciplinary program developed by scientists, artists & educators to encourage learners to explore the mysterious worlds in our solar system and their geologic stories.
The planets, moons and small bodies of our solar system are places of wonder and intrigue. NASA spacecraft are visiting these fascinating places, capturing images of otherworldly features that just beg to be explored!
What do these captivating images tell us? In just a short time, with the tools provided in this program, learners of all ages can begin to understand and interpret the features on distant objects in our solar system.
Art & the Cosmic Connection is designed to engage students in space science education by becoming artist explorers. Using the elements of art – line, color, texture, shape, and value – students learn to analyze the mysterious surfaces of our rocky celestial neighbors - planets, moons, comets and asteroids – as well as our beautiful Earth.
Fusing art and science education inspires students to explore both disciplines. Students create art inspired by planetary images, and their understanding of planet surfaces deepens when observing them through an artist’s lens.
The program includes:
The program is scalable for grades K through college and is adaptable for formal and informal education programs. Art & the Cosmic Connection can enhance Earth science curriculum or have a specific focus such as Mars(see below) or moons. Feel free to modify the PowerPoint presentation to meet your needs.
The Mars Edition focuses on the Red Planet. The PowerPoint Presentation includes all the concepts in the original and some of the same images to illustrate them, but most are fascinating and beautiful images Mars.
Click on each square to see the original NASA image depicted in the drawing and the student artist/explorer who drew it.
Click on each section below to learn about how the elements of art help make sense of the surface geology of distant worlds in our solar system.
The Videos - Cosmic Art in Action
The developers of the Art & The Cosmic Connection activity, Monica & Tyler Aiello, recognize that both artists and scientists are keen observers of the natural world and engage in creative problem solving. The three videos below introduce students to the process of using the elements of art to understand and analyze beautiful NASA images from space.
Monica, a planetary artist and educator, and Tyler, a sculptor with an architecture background, dedicate considerable time to educational programming, working with students of all ages in schools, museums, afterschool programs and camps.
Videos: Tips and Techniques for Using Pastels
Videos: Cosmic Art in Action featuring students at the Denver School of the Arts
Student Art Gallery
Art & the Cosmic Connection inspires people of all ages to make beautiful art while learning more about the solar system. Nearly 100 students at the Denver School of the Arts participated in a NASA workshop in early 2013 that introduced them to Art & the Cosmic Connection. The drawings on the INTERACTIVE POSTER were created by some of these students.
Students – Share Your Cosmic Art!
We invite you to send us your drawing of one of these intriguing rocky solar system objects. Tell us which NASA image inspired you – is it a planet, moon, asteroid or comet? Describe which interesting features you focused on and why you chose the colors you used. Take a photo of your drawing or scan it and send it to us.
These video presentations from recent workshops feature the art activity and an overview of some of NASA’s very cool missions that are exploring our solar system.