Exhibition: Spaceship Earth

By on 20 May, 2014
Great Barrier Reef

World’s largest coral reef system. This Envisat MERIS image, taken in August 2004, is centred on mainland Cape York Peninsula and has a spatial resolution of 300m. Source: ESA.


Buckminister Fuller’s 1968 call for ‘an operating manual for Spaceship Earth‘ is being updated to match today’s most advanced satellite imaging and remote sensing technologies.

Aerospatial technologies – first prototyped on spacecraft and in war zones and publicly highlighted in films like Gravity and Avatar – are key to an emerging goal among climate scientists to convert Fuller’s ‘operating manual’ idea (logically a paper document in his day) to a networked computer ‘system of systems’ that could globally ‘auto-pilot’ solutions for managing our planet’s environmental challenges.

Three floors of the City of Sydney’s Customs House information venue at Circular Quay will display extraordinary earth observation (EO) imagery from international space agencies and satellite operators, in a three-level exhibition from 23 May to 20 July 2014.

It will coincide with the first half of Sydney’s annual Vivid light festival and the second half of this year’s Biennale of Sydney.

Called Spaceship Earth: Observing Our Planet From Satellites, the exhibition is being curated by an Australian founder of the International Society for Digital Earth’s (ISDE) digital cities working party, Davina Jackson. Chairing both the ISDE cities working party and this exhibition’s international advisory panel is the Queensland CEO of the Spatial Industries Business Association (SIBA), Richard Simpson.

The Spaceship Earth show will promote both the Digital Earth vision (a term first coined by Al Gore in his 1992 book Earth in the Balance) and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) project, which is being coordinated by the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) in Geneva.

The show will include videos and high-resolution stills from GEO, the European Space Agency, NASA, NOAA, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, Geoscience Australia, NSW Land and Property Information, leading university research centres, international digital artists, and commercial providers Digital Globe and EOVision.

Guest speaker for the opening event (Thursday 22 May 7pm) is Dr Stuart Minchin, Head of Geoscience Australia’s Environmental Geoscience Division, which processes satellite images on behalf of the federal government.

Name: Spaceship Earth: Observing Our Planet From Satellites
Time: 10am – 7pm Weekdays, 11am – 4pm Sat/Sun
Date: 23 May 2014 to 20 July 2014
Venue: Sydney Customs House
Address: Ground Floor, Level 1 and Level 2 Library, 31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay, Sydney NSW 2000
Cost: Free
Event Website:

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