Ad/Graph Thesis – Conducting Research

Last week, I explained that I was more or less settled on the topic of space exploration. After explaining this to the class last week, everyone seemed pretty intrigued in one form or another. Here are some of the major takeaways and initial reactions since then:

• A large portion of the class doesn't consider themselves well-versed in all things space, but many would be willing to learn a few interesting facts.

• Some people are not fond of space, most often due to its vastness, emptiness, and mysterious nature.

• A select few people are very interested in space, and are quick to talk about it in-depth.

A discussion with the class proved to be a great litmus test, but I'm still not certain about what I should highlight within the topic of space exploration.

One thing that I've been especially intrigued by this week, however, is the Voyager Record. Two copies of this gold-plated copper disc have been sent out into space aboard Voyager 1 and 2, with the former having officially left our solar system a few years ago. Should any intelligent life stumble across the records, they will find a variety of sound clips, greetings, songs, diagrams, and images of what we believe to encapsulate humanity. It definitely has me thinking about what the people of today (myself included) would want to send out. It's a communication challenge in the truest sense, and that's what I find most interesting. Below is an image of the record, along with some the media stored inside.

I've also been fascinated by the space-related milestones that humanity have made, as well as what lies ahead. The Voyager probes are billions of miles away, Rosetta landed on a comet in the fall, and NASA has recently announced plans to explore the icy moon of Europa (which might have subsurface oceans). It could very well be that my thesis project finds ways to share interesting facts like these, in an attempt to provoke and celebrate human curiosity. If many of the people attending the show in April are fearful of space, a human element could certainly make things more accessible.

Europa, Jupiter's icy moon

As I've said, there are countless elements to space exploration, and it's hard narrowing things down. Perhaps it's worth conducting a survey by next week, so I can determine what people might find interesting.

I've also begun creating a short list of people that I'd like to try and contact for additional research, including Richard Bentham (an exhibition designer from the National Air & Space Museum), Edward C. Stone (the chief scientist of the Voyager missions), and maybe a public figure like Neil deGrasse Tyson or Michio Kaku. Some of these people are long shots, but we'll see what happens. Within the next week, I'll hopefully begin talking with people on the subject.

As difficult as the initial stages can be, I'm excited about what will happen in the next couple of weeks.

Ad/Graph Thesis – Pursuing a Topic

Last week, I explained that I wasn't certain what topic I'd explore for the thesis project. I was hoping that by this point, I'd begin generating ideas, and possibly gravitate towards one.

Some of areas of interest that I've considered:

Space Exploration
The accomplishments that mankind has made have always filled me with wonder and awe. From Voyager 1 leaving the solar system to Rosetta landing on a comet, we've gone farther and discovered more than many would first believe, and I think that's worth showcasing.

This was a large and formative part of my youth, and I love its endless applications, from functional appliances to artistic works. This might be better suited as a medium than as a topic, however.

Found Objects
I've always had a strange obsession with collecting random objects that I find, like bottle caps, miscellaneous electronics, broken car parts, and much more. With concepts like upcycling, DIY, and giving value back to something, I think a project on found objects would be very interesting to explore.

Voice Acting
This area has always intrigued me, too, especially since I've lent my voice on a number of occasions to other students' projects. Much like LEGO, however, I don't know how well this area lends itself to the objectives of the thesis project.

I'm gravitating toward Space Exploration (no pun intended), and I've already checked out several books on the subject. By next week, I plan to conduct a great deal of research, and hopefully start reaching out to others for additional advice, opinions, and knowledge.

The Voyager 1 probe. Source: NASA

The Voyager 1 probe. Source: NASA

Ron Miller's artistic visualization of a 75 million mile wide planetary ring system 430 light years away, discovered Monday. Source: TIME

Ron Miller's artistic visualization of a 75 million mile wide planetary ring system 430 light years away, discovered Monday. Source: TIME