Planetary Society Celebrates Mars Odyssey through Myth, Art and Science

For Immediate Release
October 18, 2001

Mat Kaplan
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +1-626-793-5100

The Planetary Society will showcase the winners of our International Space Art Contest at a special event, "Mars in Myth and Reality," on Friday, October 19, 2001 at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. The event precedes next week's arrival at the Red Planet of NASA's Mars Odyssey mission.

Hidehiko Igarashi of Japan has been named the Grand Prize Winner of the Society's art contest. The 17-year-old student was selected via on-line voting on The Planetary Society's website, where the public was asked to choose from the three first place winners in each of three age categories. The art work of all three finalists will be displayed at the Art Center during the event.

Co-sponsored by The Williamson Gallery at the Art Center, "Mars in Myth and Reality" will encompass both the Mars Odyssey mission and the way Mars has been a focal point of humanity's dreams of space exploration.

Event speakers will include Bruce Murray, the Society's Chairman of the Board and former Director of JPL; William Hartmann, astronomical artist, author and scientist; and Steve Saunders, Mars Odyssey Project Scientist. The three will discuss the hold Mars has exercised over our collective imagination, from Percival Lowell's expectations of Martian canals to Ray Bradbury's stories of ancient Martian civilizations. Saunders will outline the goals of the newest explorer, Mars Odyssey, slated to arrive soon at that distant world. The mission's name aptly pays tribute to humanity's vision of exploration since it was named after the celebrated book and film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The art contest was part of The Planetary Society's "Red Rover Goes to Mars" educational project sponsored by the LEGO Company. Entrants were asked to draw or paint what the next landing site on Mars might look like, both now and in 100 years. Artists submitted a wide range of entries, many exhibiting optimistic portrayals of humans inhabiting Mars within the coming century.

Igarashi, the grand prize winner, will have his artwork featured on the cover of a CD-ROM of the winning artwork, which will be distributed to space museums, science centers, planetariums, and art galleries around the world. Igarashi entered the contest in the Youth category for students aged 11-18.

"Mars in Myth and Reality" is free and open to the public. It will begin at 7:00 PM Friday, October 19 in the Ahmanson Auditorium, Art Center College of Design, 1700 Lida Street, Pasadena.

About The Planetary Society

With a global community of more than 2 million space enthusiasts, The Planetary Society is the world’s largest and most influential space advocacy organization. Founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman and today led by CEO Bill Nye, we empower the public to take a meaningful role in advancing space exploration through advocacy, education outreach, scientific innovation, and global collaboration. Together with our members and supporters, we’re on a mission to explore worlds, find life off Earth, and protect our planet from dangerous asteroids. To learn more, visit