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Michael Carroll  –  space artist
Click for larger image " It is my goal to make each painting I do a jewel, an object that brings just a little more beauty into the world. "
How were you motivated to choose your particular field?
  I was originally motivated to become a space artist through my father, who is a former aerospace engineer. He and my mom both instilled within me a sense of wonder for the worlds around us. I have always enjoyed art, but I'm lousy at math, so instead of going into the pure sciences, I chose scientific art.   Click for larger image
What can you share about your creative process?
    Producing a work of space art is often a complex process. The idea frequently starts with the germ of an idea from some science news that I get wind of. "Ice on Mercury's poles? Hey, what would that look like?" "Martian glaciers in the past? How would those have affected the landscape?" "Oceans under the surface of Europa? I want to be there!"

After the idea, I learn from nature how to paint the forms that approximate what I want to depict. The dynamic forms of a salt pan or ocean ice flows become the surface of Europa. Subarctic mass wasting or patterned ice wedged ground in Iceland becomes a Martian vista. The painting must be informed by science, so I often consult with researchers in the field. This is one of my favorite parts of the process. But to be a good piece of space art, the work must first be good art! It is my goal to make each painting I do a jewel, an object that brings just a little more beauty into the world.

What ideas do you have for a future human community on Mars?
  A future community on Mars MUST have environments that echo the homeworld. I would suggest trees, birds, waterfalls and even other small kinds of wildlife. It is difficult to bring living things along when we venture as far as Mars, but the peace of mind that a living environment brings more than balances the expense. Depression and psychological handicaps will be dangerous and even life threatening on Mars. Our settlements must have places where people can relax and dream of home (in a world of browns and rusts, green will become an important color!).  
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