Kayla Wardle

May 10th, 2024

Major: Biochemistry

Genre/Medium: Acrylic Paint & Photoluminescent Powder

About the work: “Welcome to “Illuminae,” an acrylic painting celebrating space exploration and discovery, brought to life with a touch of chemistry. At the painting’s heart is the Goddess Psyche, the embodiment of the human soul, sculpted in the timeless style of ancient Greek sculpture. Her “brain” is represented as the heart of the mission itself, the Psyche asteroid. Together, they embody humanity’s curiosity about the universe.

In the foreground, outlines of the spacecraft and deep space dish portray the connection between humanity and the spacecraft that will let us understand more about the Psyche asteroid and our solar system. Beyond, a star-studded sky stretches into infinity, overlooking the destination of our spacecraft, the surface of the Psyche asteroid.

But there’s more to discover here than meets the eye. As the lights dim, hidden details emerge, illuminating only in the dark or under UV light. Watch as important elements of the mission, highlighted by photoluminescent powder, come to life. Just as scientists might use radiation waves or a telescope to view objects in space that are invisible to the naked eye, the viewer is invited to discover these hidden images by viewing the painting in a different light–literally.

“Illuminae” stands as a vibrant testament to two central themes of the Mission to Psyche: creativity and curiosity. From its ties to ancient Greece and the asteroid’s discovery by Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis in 1852 to the upcoming arrival of the Psyche spacecraft in 2029, and beyond, this acrylic painting embodies the spirit of exploration and discovery that encompasses the mission. “Illuminae” invites viewers to embark on their own voyage of discovery, reminding us of the endless possibilities that await when we dare to explore the unknown.

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Date Added: 05-10-2024
Credit: Kayla Wardle

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