Video version of the photographic project A Rough Road with specifically designed audio. ©Barry W Hughes, 2012. See the still images at barrywhughes.com

There is a memorial plaque at Launch Complex 34, Cape Canaveral, where the Apollo 1 fire occurred in 1967, which reads "In memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice so others could reach for the stars - ad astra per aspera (a rough road leads to the stars)." The Astronauts chosen for this series have all died by accident or incident, such as the Apollo 1 fire, Challenger and Columbia disasters, bicycle, car or plane crashes.

When we see the stars from Earth, we are seeing light that has traveled across the void of space for eons; we are essentially looking at the past in the present. Based on this premise, the official portraits of deceased NASA Astronauts have been re-photographed capturing only the light emitted from the portraits, and using a fixed focal length that is incapable of focusing totally on the individuals, just as the Earth’s atmospheric distortion causes stars to appear as though they are faintly flickering in the night sky.

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