Opening Event at Visions West Gallery, Livingston, MT, 24 September, 2010, 6-9 p.m.

Exhibition on view through 09 October, 2010


Beginning on 24 September, 2010, a unique art event will take place in Montana.  For a two week period, a full-scale space mission will unfold in the landscape around Yellowstone National Park.  The mission will treat the area as though no one had ever seen it before in an attempt to prompt discussion about nature, exploration, and observation.  A robotic Lander and a balloon-deployed nanosatellite will be used to assay the landscape and 'Search For Life On Earth'.

The mission has its historic underpinnings in the U.S. Geological Survey of the area in 1871, which included the artist Thomas Moran, whose paintings and aesthetic choices contributed to no less than the establishment of the National Park System, the development of cities and industries, and ultimately helped define the American Ethos.

The mission will take place in an undisclosed location but will be accessible on the Internet (http://browerpropulsionlab.com). A temporary Mission Control Center will be operating at the Visions West Gallery in Livingston, Montana, where equipment and details will be on public view for the duration of the mission.

(Visions West Gallery:

108 South Main Street, Livingston, MT 59047



A schedule of demonstrations and talks during the mission will be made available at the Visions West Gallery.  (An updated schedule can always be found at https://bpl-solutions.com/timetable)  

A highlight of the mission features the launch of a nanosatellite from the deck of the Lander on 26 September.  An observer chosen from the public will execute the launch, which will entail the release of a helium filled balloon connected to an electronics payload that will record data and beacon its position.  The balloon will rise to the edge of space and then burst, initiating the descent by parachute of the payload.  The public will be asked to participate in the recovery of the payload and tracking of the mission will be visible in real time from the mission website.

The Lander will use its robotic arm and environmental sensors to gather data from the landing site, and combine this information with results from a number of camera systems for analysis of the area.  Imagery and information generated by Thomas Moran will be used as the basis for comparison with the spacecraft's findings, in an attempt to revisit not only the places Moran observed, but also the historical context.  the mission's experiments are designed to draw attention to the way tools and techniques of observation influence conclusions drawn about the things observed. Arguably, the history of the Yellowstone region can be told in terms of the methods that have been used to gather information about it, as these methods reveal ideological and cultural agendas.  Using Moran's paintings and their cultural effects as the database against which the mission's experiments are performed calls to attention the subjectivity that can be hidden in seemingly objective data gathering.

All the equipment, systems, artwork, and paraphernalia pertaining to the mission was created by the Brower Propulsion Laboratory, a quasi-fictitious aerospace company created by artist Steven Brower.  Using his artwork as a method for generating problems he has no idea how to solve, Brower sees his art as the byproduct of learning. His miniature versions of NASA-like projects yield results that speak to the desire for greater understanding of the everyday world, and the insistence that this understanding is not only the province of specialists.

Work on this mission began in 2006.


(1) The 003 mission Pre-Launch Operations Test (PLOT) and Bake Sale took place at Parker's Box, in Brooklyn, New York between 5 June and 21 June, 2009


(2) The exhibition of the 003 Mission equipment took place at the Esther Klein Art Gallery at the University City Science Center in Philadelphia, PA between 22 January and 21 March, 2010


(3) BPL has successfully completed a project with Kickstarter, a web-based progenitor of funding for endeavors such as this one.  We reached our funding goal on 16 March, 2010. Please visit our Kickstarter project page for information about The Moranic Mission To Montana (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brower/moranic-mission-to-montana-bpl-003-a-space-miss);

About this Memo

This corporate memo issued on: February 10, 2009.

Previously issued memo Tolerance.

Subequently issued memo BPL Pickup Team.

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