This final post discusses the terrestrial activities of the OURS Foundation, the evolution of my painting with a realistic focus on the home planet, the Greater Earth and Space Option concepts that emerged as a rationale for space development and finally, on my current activities that emphasize that space development is a critically needed alternative to war.

The OURS Foundation

The OURS Foundation was founded in 1990 as a legal entity and vehicle to organize, manage and fund the astronautical art projects that it was developing. All of the members of the board of directors believed, however, that this non-profit organization should have a broader mandate dedicated to introducing, nurturing and expanding a cultural dimension to humanity’s astronautical endeavors. This intent was embodied in the statutes:


The exploration and development of outer space are contributing to a new awareness of humanity's place and purpose in the cosmos as well as creating new opportunities for its advancement and enrichment, both on and beyond its home planet Earth. It is considered essential that a cultural aspect becomes integrated into these astronautical endeavors in order to insure their success and benefit to all present and future generations.


The primary purpose of the OURS Foundation is to introduce, nurture and expand a cultural dimension to humanity's astronautical endeavors. This task will be manifested through the identification, investigation, support and realization of related cultural, astronautical, humanitarian, environmental and educational activities which may take place both on and off planet Earth, and which are deemed as beneficial to the development and advancement of human civilization in this new environment.

Commencing in 1990 and continuing until 2006, in addition to its innovative extraterrestrial activities, the OURS Foundation was very active on the surface of Earth as well.

In 1990, in addition to the O.U.R.S. and OUR-SPS presentations at Space Commerce’90 in Montreux, Switzerland and at the invitation of the organizers, the OURS Foundation organized “Visions of Space: The 1st International Space Art Exhibition in Switzerland” which added a cultural aspect to the space technology exhibition making the event more attractive to the public.

Two years later, the Space Commerce organization invited us to do so again at Space Commerce’92 where the OURS Foundation organized the “1st European Space Art Workshop, Symposium and Exhibition” which included the participation of 17 artists from Europe and the US.

Under the auspices of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), the OURS Foundation, together with Leonardo - the Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology – and their French branch OLATS, was co-organizer of a series of space art workshops held first at the Leonardo premises in Paris (1997-2002) and then later in other venues including "Space: Science, Technology and the Arts" at ESTEC in 2004, the IAA’s “The Impact of Space Activities on Society" conference and workshop held in Budapest, Hungary in 2005, and, in 2006, the "Space: Planetary Consciousness and the Arts" held at the Maison d’Ailleurs, the Museum of Science Fiction, in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland. Also, during this time, the OURS Foundation organized and co-organized international exhibitions of space art held at the International Astronautical Congresses (IAC) in Oslo, 1995, Turin, 1997 and in Melbourne in 1998.

The European Space Agency commissioned the Maison d’Ailleurs and the OURS Foundation to conduct a study called: “ITSF- Innovative Technologies from Science Fiction for Space Applications” which was carried out in 2000-2005. An ESA brochure was published and in the course of the study “The Clarke-Bradbury International Science Fiction Competition” for short stories was organized in 2003 and in 2005. The latter one resulted in the publishing of the book “Running the Line – Stories of the Space Elevator”.

Working together with the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) the following studies were also performed which in some cases included the development of the respective websites:

IAA study - “The Impact of Space Activities on Society”: where world leaders were invited to comment on the importance of space activities.

IAA study - “Space Expectations: How the Public Views Space Activities”: a multilingual survey in 7 languages of the public’s expectations about space. The preliminary results were presented at the IAC in Glasgow. (Website now closed)

IAA / ESA sponsored study co-organized with Leonardo/OLATS: “Spacearts: The Space Art Database”.

ESA study - “Using Space Technology to Celebrate the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy”

Greater Earth

Greater Earth Diagram

All celestial bodies of significant concentrated mass exert a field of gravitational attraction around their cores which extends to the point of tangential intersection with other celestial bodies. Earth's gravitational influence extends 1.5 million kilometers in all directions from its center where it meets the gravitational influence of the Sun. This sphere has 13 million times the volume of the physical Earth and through it, passes some more than 50,000 times the amount of solar power which is available on the surface of the planet. In addition to energy, within this sphere of 3 million kilometers are enormous amounts of other resources, including the Moon and occasional passing asteroids. Like the territorial waters surrounding nations these resources naturally belong to our planet and should be used for the ultimate benefit of humanity and all life which has originated here. As it has throughout its history, humanity must understand and seek nourishment from its home planet and it must now once again refine its perception of the planet in order to recognize and embrace the perception of a greater, richer and more sustainable Earth that can be called "Greater Earth".

Art is always about perception, and through art - in and about space - humanity’s perception about its place and purpose in the Cosmos is being refined. One of the most profound and symbolic images from the space program is the view of the Earth from the perspective of space. A view, the cosmonauts and astronauts find particularly inspiring and which author Frank White, in his book with the same title, refers to as the “Overview Effect”.

With the realization of the Cosmic Dancer on the Mir space station in 1993, my approach to painting began to evolve in the direction of realism. In essence, the Cosmic Dancer was not only a sculpture in a traditional sense, but also a minimal abstract painting in three dimensions. With it, I seemed to have reached the limits of my exploration of abstraction by combining the elements of micro- and macrocosmos in this particular work realized in the microgravity of a space habitat.

During this time I began the “Earth Energies” series of paintings which focused on the “overview” of planet Earth situated in a cosmic environment full of energy, resources and activity. As gravity already exerted a significant influence on my art, the message embodied in these works is that Earth's physical boundary is not limited to its atmosphere but extends outward to its real cosmic boundary - that which is defined by Earth’s own gravitational influence in its immediate cosmos - Greater Earth.

Earth Energies Series - Home Planet II, 1992
Acrylic on Canvas, 160 x 160 cm

My realistic painting at this time also focused on my immediate surroundings on the surface of our home planet. These works of Swiss landscapes where I live are painted in my particle physics inspired pointillistic painting technique. While for most people these works are my personal approach to the art of landscape painting, I see them as works imbued with cosmic energy and the “star stuff” that constitutes both the basis and the perception of an interconnected and interdependent reality that we all share.

January, 2012
Acrylic on Canvas, 70 x 100 cm



The Space Option

As humanity’s breakout into space is considered to be one of its most significant achievements, and, as such, it is no surprise that space exploration has become firmly integrated into contemporary culture, yet the real importance of space to the future of humanity is less acknowledged. Space visionaries and pioneers long ago quietly and consequently developed both the scientific rationale and the technological concepts to open the space frontier. Unfortunately, even within the space community, this essential aspect is often omitted or ignored in the standard rationales justifying the national space budgets and programs. Consequently, the public, while obviously fascinated and enthusiastic about space exploration is also unaware of what this significant development really means for the future of civilization and even for its ultimate survival as a species. Indeed, confronted with a myriad of “terrestrial” problems and issues, space solutions which could effectively address many of these problems are hardly considered at all.

In the course of our many presentations about the OURS Foundation’s projects we often ran into critics who questioned the relevance and importance of making art for space and even space development itself. Many people believed that space technology was mostly the domain of the military and the few commercial companies that were providing communication and weather satellites.

Soon it will be 50 years since Apollo and the dream of personal space exploration has faded into the reality that the space experience was reserved for a very few highly trained and specially selected elite individuals, most of whom had gotten their training in a military program. Even though the message of our projects was about “peace and hope” and that we were actually creating what could be considered as avant-garde art, for most people, space exploration and development were too expensive. Likewise, if we were serious about our idealistic intentions, any “art-in-space” adventure would be an extravagant waste of money and effort that would be better spent on “down to Earth” humanitarian or environmental projects.

In order to find the required technical and financial support for the further development of our projects, it therefore became necessary for Marco and me to come up with a set of reasonable and viable arguments justifying our activities in this environment. Fortunately, Marco had been a long time student of the history of Astronautics as well as a reader of science fiction. We had numerous discussions how the thoughts and writings of space visionaries such as Krafft A. Ehricke and Gerard O’Neill and those of science fiction writers such as Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein addressed the future of space development. We merged these ideas with our shared optimism and idealism about the importance of the “Cultural Dimension” of space activities and, based on this historical background came up the concept that we called the Space Option. Beginning in the early 1990’s and in subsequent years we began including the argument that “humanity's future on Earth was irrevocably connected to its future in space” in the OURS Foundation’s presentations and publications.

The Space Option concept is an evolutionary plan to meet the basic and anticipated needs of humanity through the utilization of near Earth resources - not for the in-situ support of science or exploration - but rather to apply these resources and/or their products for use on Earth at a conspicuous level. In addition to this emphasis on direct socio-economic returns, what sets the Space Option concept apart from other space development initiatives is that it does not promote an urgent need to focus humanity’s energies and resources on destinations that lie beyond the true cosmic boundaries of our planet. There is enough room, sufficient resources and plentiful opportunities within the 3 million km sphere of Greater Earth to more than satisfy the needs of our civilization in the 21st century.

Furthermore, if one believes that economic and technological development are necessary preconditions for peace, then one has to arrive at the conclusion that significant resources are necessary (a.) to fuel development, and (b.) to reduce tension. By embracing the Space Option and through the settlement of the territories of Greater Earth, humanity could provide the necessary new and sufficiently abundant resources for this purpose. This tension-reducing potential is perhaps the greatest contribution to eventual peace and security on Earth.

Humanity has the means today to embrace Greater Earth but not yet the commitment. However, if our species does not soon grasp this unique opportunity with sufficient commitment, it may miss its one and only chance to do so. Humanity could soon be overwhelmed by one or more of the many challenges it now faces. The window of opportunity is limited as the many stresses to our civilization multiply. To survive and to prosper in this new millennium the next step for our species is to exercise its fullest capabilities to exploit this new territory that is a natural part of its cosmic home. By doing so wisely, humanity will make the appropriate “Cosmic Choice” and go on to other places and adventures. Thus, Greater Earth is the gateway to the Solar System.

In the Space Option context the word “option” implies that there is a choice available to humanity that may have much relevance to its future. Information about such an important opportunity and the resulting decision about how this opportunity is understood and appreciated should be made available, discussed in detail and compared with other competing “options” that may or may not be available. For that purpose I created The Space Option website in 2013.

Astronautics, space technology and the knowledge and experience that humanity has accumulated over the past 60 years are there to open up this vast new arena for human activities. For the environmentalists and the Neo-Luddites this represents the ultimate environmental solution. For the Cornucopians, it is the technological fix that they have been expecting. For the core space community, the obvious benefit is a near Earth infrastructure upon which the eventual exploration and settlement of the solar system could be imagined. For most of humanity however, the ultimate benefit is having a realistic hope in a prosperous future with many new possibilities. There is, however, a main obstacle which needs to be addressed.

Space, Not War! & the Space Peace Star

We live in a time where the technological capabilities to harness and utilize the infinite resources located just beyond Earth's atmosphere for the support of human civilization are now available. Space technologies are providing instant access to and exchange of information enabling universal education for anyone anywhere on our planet. Space technologies are integral and indispensable for the running of today’s civilization specifically in the areas of international finance and commerce, the distribution of goods, global communication and environmental observation and analysis. Yet, instead of these remarkable developments leading to peace and progress on a global scale, WAR, in its many forms and consequences continues to spread throughout the world today and threatens the fundamental viability of society.

In the book The Overview Effect, Frank White states:

“War and space exploration are alternative uses of the assertive, exploratory energies that are so characteristic of human beings. They may also be mutually exclusive because if one occurs on a massive scale, the other probably will not.”

SPACE, Not WAR! Congress

The Space Renaissance International organization has had an ongoing discussion on this topic and has reached the conclusion that the biggest obstacle to humanity becoming a spacefaring species and, indeed, the most critical issue humanity currently faces, the one that will most likely determine its ultimate success or failure as a species, is its propensity to wage war.

To address this issue, Space Renaissance International is planning an international congress to take place in 2017 in Italy called “SPACE, Not WAR!. As a member, I am on the organizing committee and responsible for the design and maintenance of the congress website.

SPACE, Not War!

Space Renaissance International


The Space Peace Star Project

I continue to believe that the role of art is to inform and refine our perceptions about the world and universe we live in. If “war” and the associated war industries that thrive on war are a major threat to humanity’s future and even to the future of all life on this planet, then this overriding issue could be addressed with an astronautical artwork with the potential for having a global impact. For the past year Marco and I have reinvigorated the ideas and concepts embodied in the original OURS projects in the form of the Space Peace Star.

As conceived, the Space Peace Star project will be an artistic intervention and a global collaborative effort to influence the direction of humanity's future from one of confusion and misery to one of peace and prosperity. It initiates an opportunity for the public to make a symbolic choice by supporting the project while furthering the discussion about why space development is a viable alternative to war.

Its mission is three-fold:

1. to become a communication vehicle for global solidarity in the cause of peace and tolerance at a time when geopolitical tensions signal there is a serious threat to the future of human civilization,

2. to symbolically connect - through its development - the promise of space development with the future well-being of humanity,

3. to allow the public to become directly involved in a global initiative that opposes the forces of militarization and repression.

The Space Peace Star is a new manifestation of the earlier Orbiting Unification Ring Satellite and the OUR-Space Peace Sculpture projects that builds upon this previous work and experience, the technologies and the rationale. It merges these two projects into the astronomical symbol of our planet carrying a message of “Peace off Earth, Peace on Earth and Peace with Earth”. It will be realized through the support and participation of a global public and will be large enough to be visible to all citizens of planet Earth. When realized in Earth orbit and through the process of making it happen, the Space Peace Star will be a unifying message that the promise of a Space Age is preferable to the possibility of a new Stone Age.

Space Peace Star in the sky.

I would like to thank Astronomers Without Borders for inviting me to be the Artist of the Month. Your website is becoming a valuable resource for the AstroArts! For me it has been an opportunity to prepare a comprehensive and overdue overview of my work and activities. This invitation could not have come at a more appropriate moment.

Ars ad Astra!


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