Mars, Stevenage


Alan Knox

City of Glasgow College / Glasgow School of Art, Scotland.

Mars, Stevenage documents the landscape of Mars as reconstructed by Airbus Defence and Space at their base in Stevenage, England. Concerned with the dual purpose of space photography as both a scientific document and a landscape composition, these images seek to contextualise the use of space imagery in the tradition of the romantic sublime.

In the reconstruction of the red planet, the site becomes a liminal boundary between the sublime and uncanny as the photographic illusion of the Martian expanse on the walls of the Mars test yard come to signify the boundary between the finite nature of the imagination and mankind's infinite capacity to reason of the unknown. Through photography, the barriers between the real and imagined, the known and unknown may be dissolved.

The Mars test yard is designed to test the development of the Mars Rover, engineered by Airbus Defence and Space and the European Space Agency to search for evidence of life on the red planet. The Rover once complete is due to land on Mars in 2020 alongside a Russian surface platform as part of the Exo Mars programme.