Celestial Mechanics is an artwork created by Scott Hessels and Gabriel Dunne intended to be viewed in a planetarium dome. Instead of stars and planets, the ‘night sky’ program reveals many of the aerial technologies hovering, flying, and drifting above us. The project mixes science, statistical display, and contemporary art by presenting these mechanical patterns and behaviors as a dynamic visual experience.
The sky is filled with aircraft that transport people from place to place, perform utilitarian duties, assist in communications, enact military missions, or wander above us as debris.With help from government agencies and the science community, the artists worked with accurate tracking and protocol statistics to create 3-D models of the airborne systems. They then led a team of top animators to visualize those models in a style that reflects the chaos, force, and influence of these technologies.
In this section, actual NASA satellite situation reports were used to show the thousands of low earth-orbiting surveillance satellites, mostly science, that are above us right now. The video also shows their 'footprints'—the area on the earth that each satellite sees--as a representation of how much we're being watched from the sky at any given moment.