Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, is on a mission to retrieve the Saturn V rocket stages and engines from a watery “sculpture garden,” as he calls it, at the bottom of the sea off the coast of Florida. In a blog post on March 20th he announced that the endeavor to bring some of the F1 engines from Saturn up to the surface has been successful.
The size of small office buildings, the Saturn V moon rockets are the most powerful rockets ever to have flown. When tested, their engines shattered the windows of nearby houses. To date, the Saturn Vs are the only launch vehicles to have transported human beings beyond the low Earth orbit.
Kevin Sudeith is a contemporary artist with exceptional foresight. Sudeith is working in what is perhaps the most archival artistic medium available to humankind: stone carving. Petroglyphs, to be exact. Our achievements are awesome, notes Sudeith, but where is the proof? Rusted Model-T’s and piles of corrupted hard drives might fail to convince. Even the architecture of our most celebrated cities is temporary, compared to solid rock dating from the Upper Cretaceous.
Sudeith is doing what he can to address this problem of modernity by taking a year on the road to make engravings on rock faces and boulders across the country. The gold-leafed carving here is four miles west of Ingomar, Montana, in the Kanta Hills. The carving is in the hard cap rock on top of soft sandstone rim rocks. The stone on which the Chandra orbiting observatory is carved is in a shallow gully that opens into a bigger canyon and drops down to the fields below. It is readily accessible by a private road, which is open to public—which means there’s sure to be more than a few puzzled hikers making snapshots next to the curious modern petroglyph. Sudeith: “My interest in the Chandra began with the naming contest, delay, and finally its deployment. Its images continue to be brilliant. Since the Chandra exists at the limit of our understanding of nature, perhaps carving a pictograph of it is similar to the carvings of the ancients—perhaps showing the game they hunted or symbolizing their beliefs.”
Image courtesy Kevin Sudeith/Petroglyphist.com
This was no ordinary bird. SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory photographer Brad Plummer knew his time with the precious Achaeopteryx thermopolis fossil would be short, so he made the best of it:
It surprised me to see the Archaeopteryx fossil arrive at the lab with such nonchalance–the two scientists pulled up in a dusty truck with it on the backseat wrapped in foam in a wooden box. I knew the best time to get the shot would be the instant the case came open, before it was mounted for the experiment. I had pre-arranged access to the fossil for a few minutes, although once the lid came off a scrum of onlookers crowded me as I tried to work. This would be the last chance for anyone to photograph the fossil, with nothing between lens and bone, for a long, long time.
Exhibition model makers working to fit sculptor John Gurche’s life-sized recreation of Lucy onto the model tree in the Lucy diorama section of the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins at the Smithsonian museum in Washington. Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis) was discovered in Hadar, Ethiopia in 1974 by Donald Johanson and Maurice Taieb. Lucy was nicknamed that very night as Donald Johanson’s team celebrated to the Beatles’ hit “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Her Ethiopian name, “Dinenesh,” is Amharic for “you are beautiful.”
Courtesy Chip Clark/Smithsonian Institution
For a behind the scenes peek at the American Museum of Natural History’s stunning stone-age artifacts, hit the jump.