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Japanese Artist Launches Plants Into Space

07.21.14 Sophie Weiner

Japanese artist Azuma Makoto has strapped six GoPro cameras to balloons carrying plants — like a a fifty-year-old bonsai tree — and launched them into space for his project Exobiotica. The resulting documentation is stunning and surreal, with photos of earthly organisms suspended above our atmosphere.

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The artist, who works in interweaving biological and human design, encountered a few technical difficulties in realizing the idea.

“We needed to shoot the photos and video at an attitude of 30,000 meters and temperature of minus 50 degrees,” Makoto told DesignBoom. “Since there was a strict weight limit for loaded items, it was a continuous process of trial and error to choose the shooting equipments and settings, based on experiences and estimation of unknown.” 

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Makoto described his intentions with this project as extreme juxtaposition:

By giving up the links to life, what kind of ‘beauty’ shall be born? within the harsh ‘nature’, at an attitude of 30,000 meters and minus 50 degrees celsius, the plants evolve into Exbiota (extraterrestrial life). A pine tree confronting the ridge line of the earth. A bouquet of flowers marching towards the sun hit by the intense wind. freed from everything, the plants shall head to the space.

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His team used a GPS tracker to locate the balloons once they’d fallen back to Earth. (Images: Azuma Makoto via DesignBoom)