Living Light

Living Light is an artwork designed by the Beyond Earth artist collective for spaceflight. It combines biology, artificial intelligence, and aerospace technology. Living Light explores the connections between our blue planet and the boundlessness of outer space. Beyond Earth modeled the design to nest within Spaceship Neptune, referencing the Roman God of the sea. Its form was inspired by the vast biodiversity of aquatic life on Earth.. The artwork traveled to space onJune 18 aboard Neptune One, Space Perspective’s inaugural test flight.

The depths of the ocean reveal an endless frontier of Earth’s biology, where many of the inhabitants create and use light in beautiful, often mesmerizing ways. These marine creatures are sometimes referred to as ‘aliens of the sea’.Living Light mimics the bioluminescent and iridescent qualities of marine organisms. As it enters the dark abyss of space, it signals and illuminates its surroundings.This lifelike being, employing natural principles, co-creates with space while demonstrating that life is destined to expand beyond our atmosphere.

To create a one-of-a-kind aquatic organism, Beyond Earth researched thousands of aquatic life forms to create a dataset of biological structures that float, move, and glow in the ocean as if traveling in space. The image dataset was used for machine learning to generate the inner organ designs for Living Light, a method that combines biomimicry and artificial intelligence. Hundreds of artistic images of new imaginary space organisms were generated.

Living Light is the summation of various aquatic species, blending bioluminescence, fluorescence, structure, and motion of numerous sea creatures into one organism. The final design, including the inner organs and outer membrane were assembled at the Kennedy Space Center.

On June 18, 2021, Space Perspective’s Neptune One test spaceflight, a full-size capsule simulator powered by a space balloon, carried the artwork to above 99% of the Earth’s atmosphere. The movement of spaceflight triggered color and light shifts within the iridescent and fluorescent materials used in the design. Such changes that occurred – both internally and externally – not only made the vessel lifelike, but also alludes to the transformational experiences of spaceflight. At the peak of Living Light’s journey, one could look back and see the curvature of Earth.

Living Light embarked on a journey to space. It ventured to a new world beyond Earth to return transformed, offering a new perspective of Earth. This quest has changed our protagonist, and is a metaphor for bringing humankind to space. It is a celebration of the dawn of commercial space travel. Launched from the Space Coast this sea-space creature sailed to low Earth orbit, and has recovered from the Atlantic Ocean.