Art on Mars

Professor Colin Pillinger, announcing in May 1999, Damien Hirst's involvement, said:

"Beagle 2 is a project that we can all be proud to be part of. It represents the very best of science and engineering and will put Britain on the map of Mars at the beginning of the new millennium. I wanted to extend the involvement beyond the engineers and scientists ..."

"It is exciting to be able to include an artistic aspect. In fairness to the many scientists worldwide who would love to have their own experiment on Mars, any additional payload could not require significant mass or power, both of which are very limited on Beagle 2. Damien's contribution will fulfil essential scientific roles calibrating cameras and various spectrometers. For negligible impact on resources we can display contemporary art on the surface of the planet."

And Damien's press release said:

"At art school we were encouraged to break boundaries and very quickly we were looking beyond the studio as a place for artistic creativity. I found myself delving into worlds as diverse as medicine, biology, zoos, advertising, animatronics, music etc ... but Mars? Not in my wildest dreams would I have thought about making an artwork that would actually travel to the red planet. Damien Hirst, May 1999