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Planetary landscapes

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact David de Sancho.

Mankind has stood on, viewed and photographed only one other world beyond the Earth – the Moon – but has explored others out to the planet Saturn by proxy, with landed cameras, some on mobile robots able to venture into dramatic places. Yet other planetary explorations have been by remote mapping from orbiting satellites that produce files of scientific data that can be viewed as pictures. This effort has built up into a large number of little-known but stunning planetary landscape pictures that represent what you would see if, as a space tourist, you visited these alien worlds.

In this talk I explore the scientific reality in this extraterrestrial scenery. In parallel I consider how the presentation of that reality in these extraterrestrial landscapes has been formed by the way space scientists and spacecraft controllers have viewed, been influenced by and remembered pictures of terrestrial scenery created by the landscape painters of art history.

This talk is part of the Wolfson College Science Society series.

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