In 2003 Damien Hirst’s ego received an entirely unnecessary boost when he was chosen to be the first artist to have his work sent to Mars. That year, a spot painting by Hirst was placed on the Beagle 2 Mars probe, which was ejected from its mother ship on December 19th and never heard from again…until now! According to reports, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spotted the Beagle 2 earlier this week. Upon inspection Hirst’s painting artwork is still inside.
Hirst’s website has a comment from the man himself:
This is fantastic news! I can’t believe Beagle 2 has been out there all this time and I have a painting on Mars! It’s amazing! It makes me think that Colin [Pillinger, the deceased scientist who headed the mission] must be looking down on us smiling and still have a hand in it.
The specific piece that was onboard is the only good spot painting by Hirst because it actually has a reason to exist other than just being some bullshit that rich people pass amongst themselves for insane amounts of money. According to The Creators Project:
The painting wasn’t just there to be an aesthetic ambassador, either—it was also an instrument calibration chart that scientists on Earth could use to make sure the probe’s equipment was working. The pigments Hirst used were specially chosen to withstand the intense conditions in space.
Hirst wasn’t Earth’s only outer space cultural export on the Beagle 2. A recording by Blur was also aboard the probe and it was set to play on repeat for 180 days. The battery was drained so it’s believed that it worked and Blur is officially the first band to have music its music played on another planet. You can hear that track from the safe confines of Earth in the embed below.