The Celestium artwork created aboard the International Space Station (ISS) utilizes cosmic radiation, artificial intelligence technology, and blockchain technology to question the existing dynamics of space exploration.
Who has the power to access space and all its resources? How do we as a society define how space can and should be used? And how might human actions in space be able to transform the quality of life of all of humanity, instead of serving as more wealth for the few?
Celestium is the first of its kind artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain artwork to operate from space, as it since December 17th, 2021 has orbited the Earth aboard NASA’s part of the International Space Station (ISS). The artwork, which takes the form of a hybrid AI-Blockchain algorithm, uses data from cosmic radiation that it experienced aboard the ISS, to seed and create a series of digital tokens and AI-generated space images using its generative adversarial network (GAN).
The artwork’s unique space tokens and space images can be mined and collected by all humans on Earth from February 1st to March 31st, 2022, by interacting directly with the space-based artwork at the website:
The artwork has been created to raise awareness about challenging questions in relation to the future entanglement of space, technology, sustainability, and humanity. The artwork challenges the existing power dynamics we see in the modern space era; as with few restrictions, the untapped haven of celestial resources beyond the limits of this planet is rapidly becoming a proverbial wild west of the cosmos, for the rich and powerful to exploit for their personal economic gain. Today, the exploration of space has been designated as the “province of all mankind”, and its colonization has been prohibited under the International Outer Space Treaty of 1967. Yet despite this, and the fact that the development of outer space has significant implications for all of Earth’s inhabitants, only a small cadre of individuals, companies, and governments are involved in its exploration. The severe lack of strict regulation, coupled with our prioritization of open access over equal distribution, has led to the establishment of a new form of the international space race, where private corporations are working tirelessly to gain the capability of harvesting near earth asteroids with resources valued in the trillions of dollars.
Celestium is an experimentation into the need for democratic participation of space exploration, mining, and ventures. To enable an artistic speculation in the decentralization of outer space, the artwork utilize blockchain technology as a result of its inherent distributed and decentralized nature. Through its application, the technology is used as a means of provoking reflection over the current state of space exploration, which today functions as a first-come-first-serve enterprise hiding behind the misdirection of equal opportunity rather than the equitable distribution of wealth. Although today’s legislation prevents individual ownership of celestial objects and grants all individuals equal rights to mine space resources, should they be able to access them, said system establishes a problematic dynamic resulting in the wealth of the heavens falling into the pockets of the few, due to the technological barriers required to achieve the feat of venturing into space.
The Celestium artwork explores how this can be turned upside down by utilizing machine learning and blockchain technology to enable a decentralized experiment and speculation into what would happen if the wealth of the space could be access by all humans across the world. Thereby the space based-artwork investigates critical subjects such as:
What are the possibilities and dilemmas result from utilizing technology as a means of decentralizing space? In what ways are we limited by our current technologies when discussing the progression towards the sustainable democratization of space exploration? What power dynamics will emerge throughout the course of the artwork's lifetime, in terms of collaboration and competition over the acquisition of digital space resources? How might this experiment result in a replication of our existing power dynamics; where despite all humans on earth being given free equal access to the digital space resources within the Celestium artwork, a lack of technological access, resources and awareness might once again serve as barriers amongst its users with regards to the resources they collect? And what can we do to ensure the equitable distribution of space resources for the common benefit of all mankind?
Upon entering the artwork’s interactive web platform https://celestium.space/
individuals are confronted with an interactive canvas of 1000 by 1000 pixels, where you are invited to contribute to the shared image of who we are as humans, that was sent into space to the International Space Station on April 5, 2022. As a reward for their contribution, individuals received Celestium tokens generated from the space radiation the artwork experienced aboard the International Space Station. These tokens are then able to be exchange for real asteroids that orbit our solar system. Each of the near-earth asteroids, numbering over 600,000, are rendered within the platform’s Asteroid Database, along with an accompanying visualization generated by the AI algorithm, from space radiation harvested by the artwork aboard the International Space Station. The AI component of the algorithm itself is a generative adversarial network (GAN), trained on thousands of images of existing planets, stars, and nebulas across the cosmos, which it uses to generate images of its own unique celestial objects. Individuals can exchange Celestium tokens to acquire an asteroid and its accompanying AI-generated image, in the form of an NFT. Along with any exchange, individuals are also allocated a piece of space debris equivalent to the amount that would be produced in the asteroids harvesting to raise awareness of the shared responsibility of the sustainable disposal of generated waste products in space.
The artwork itself is embedded within the Celestium blockchain aboard the International Space Station. At the end of its time aboard the ISS, the blockchain continues to live on, embodying the transactions exchanged and the imagery generated by the collective of mankind.
The artwork is developed by artist Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm. The machine learning and blockchain technology for the Celestium artwork is developed by the ARTificial Mind team: Jens Hegner Stærmose, Alexander Krog, Cody Lukas Anderson, Asbjørn Olling, and Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm.
Thanks to NASA and CASIS, the International Space Station has been the incredible testbed for the creation of the AI and blockchain-based digital art Celestium. The artwork is part of a global STEAM initiative and a data storage, edge processing demonstration running aboard the International Space Station (ISS) enabled by Lonestar, Canonical, and Redwire Corporation in collaboration with NASA and CASIS. Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm initiated the idea for Celestium with Niels Zibrandtsen and Mindfuture Foundation has helped launch the art project. The artwork draws upon data and deep space photographs from NASA and the works of Astronaut Nicole Stott.
You can experience the artwork at:
Visit the artworks website:
Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm
Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm, Artist
Jens Hegner Strærmose, Software Engineer
Alexander Krog, Software Engineer
Cody Lukas, Assistant Artist
Asbjørn Olling, Software Engineer
Cecilie Waagner Falkenstrøm and Niels Zibrandtsen.
Period aboard the International Space Station (ISS):
December 17th, 2021 - April 5th, 2022
NASA, CASIS, Lonestar, Canonical, Redwire Space, MindFuture Foundation, Danish Arts Foundation, Angiogenesis Foundation, Arch Mission Foundation, Space For Art Foundation and retired NASA astronaut Nicole Stott.