Back in 1995, the standard practice for selecting and photographing astronomy subjects, as it has been for ages, was to pick something interesting in the sky and study it. The moon, planets, the sun and the stars. The Hubble space telescope had been in orbit for about 5 years by this time but was still suffering from a reputation tarnished by a flaw in the lens resulting in blurry images from the most advanced and expensive telescope in the history of mankind. It was Robert Williams who took a contrarian approach in the midst all this turmoil by deciding to do something completely different from what the entire field of astronomy had ever done before. He led his team on a quest, not to photograph something interesting, but rather to photograph nothing at all. His vision was to focus on a pinpoint area of darkness in the universe, similar to a geologist studying the Earth by taking core samples, he would capture a column extending back to the beginning of time itself – a “core sample” of the universe. Patience and perseverance were fundamental to the success of this endeavor; it turns out that capturing a photograph of nothing is much more difficult than taking a photo of something. This was a risky mission as well, investing 10 days of precious telescope time, not to mention potential further damage to the Hubble Telescope’s reputation, just to capture a picture of nothing that could very well have turned out to actually be nothing at all.
But not only was this tiny pinpoint cross section of universe core sample not nothing, the Hubble deep Field photograph, as it became known, revealed the most distant, and therefore the youngest galaxies ever captured on film at that time. Studying galaxies in their infancy and so close to the birth of the universe unleashed phenomenal discoveries of galaxy and star formation science. And the reputation for Hubble space telescope rose up like the proverbial Phoenix.
The expanse and beauty of nighttime skies have inspired throughout human history. And the Hubble Deep Field photograph re-ignited passion for science for a whole new generation. The effects are far-reaching, well beyond the field of astronomy, students and scientists alike are inspired to this day by the stellar depths of these images. And it’s not only galactic images with the ability to inspire us, a recent milestone in astronomy and photography has been achieved with the first ever photograph of a black hole. This achievement, along with the resulting imagery, has again resonated with star lovers around the world; even moving some of us to tears:
“I cried when I saw their picture,” he said. Then, he asked: “What can we learn from this?”Andrew Strominger
Inspiration is a core value at SpaceX:
I think that a future where we are spacefaring civilization and out there among the stars this is very exciting this makes me look forward to a future –Elon Musk
Inspiration has been the fuel of innovation throughout human history. These historic achievements and imagery have continued to provide such raw material of inspiration for millions of us around the world today. But pure inspiration without purpose or meaning it’s not guaranteed to launch our dreams to reality.
As energizing as it can be, a burst of inspiration without a focal point of direction is difficult to harness effectively. Like trying to wrap your head around the expanse and complexity of the entire universe all at once. Amazingly, in the case of our universe such an Atlas has been created. This space Atlas provides direction and topology of our universe for light-years all around us. One fine day when large-scale human space travel is an everyday reality this map can guide us to the stellar destinations of our wildest dreams. Maps like these can help us reach major milestones carefully navigating the calculated risks. We arrive quickly, planning out a shorter route over that contrarian switchback. But what about a map to guide the inspirational journeys of our worldly goals and dreams? The map capable to provide direction as powerful as our inspiration is the why:
We here at MX Fusion are continuously inspired by beautiful photos emergent in our musical Fusions. And we are motivated by our “why”, our mission to build build a beautiful experience of art in music and imagery for enjoyment by the world.
What inspires you? More importantly, where is your inspiration taking you?
While we ponder the next step on our journey of inspiration let’s enjoy a Fusion for Moby | We Are All Made Of Stars: