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Let There Be Life

Let There Be Life



ESA, OURS Foundation

In 1995 a space art project was organized by the Swiss based OURS Foundation, in cooperation with the European Space Agency for the first art exhibition to take place beyond Earth. After holding an international competition, twenty original art works were selected by a jury of art and space experts for an exhibition on the Mir space station during the EUROMIR 95 mission.

In addition, one artwork from each artist participating in the project was digitized and installed on a portable computer that accompanied German cosmonaut Thomas Reiter on his record breaking mission.

The theme of the exhibition was "Space and Humanity". The artists were challenged to make "space qualified" artworks that were lightweight and used no toxic materials. Each artwork was carried out on paper that measured 21 x 30 cm.

On space station Mir, the cosmonaut crew consisting of Thomas Reiter and his two Russian colleagues Sergeij Avdeev and Yuri Gidzenko picked the artwork they liked best from the twenty orginals. This artwork, a watercolor by the American artist Elisabeth Carol Smith called "When Dreams are Born" was kept on the Mir station.

The remaining 19 artworks were returned to Earth on February 29, 1996. The winning artist received a special Omega Speedmaster Chronograph which was once flown on the Mir station donated by Omega SA. All twenty artists also received a set of "space qualified" acrylic artists paints donated by the Swiss art supplies manufacturer LASCAUX.

Technical information:

Artwork name:

Let There Be Life




Edward Mendelsohn


United Kingdom

This work is part of the following collection:

Ars Ad Astra




21 x 30 cm



IAAA Art Style:

cosmic expressionism

Launch vehicle / mission:

Soyuz TM-22

Host spacecraft / hardware:

MIR Space Station



Launch location:

Baikonur Cosmodrome

Launch date:

3 Sept 1995

Orbit / space location:

LEO, MIR Space Station

Return vehicle:

Soyuz TM-22

End date:

29 February 1996



Client / Agency:

ESA, OURS Foundation


Edward Mendelsohn

Architect, artist

United Kingdom

Edward Mendelsohn


Ars Ad Astra


Ars Ad Astra


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