This blog will keep you informed about the "outer space" series:
13 February, 2017
Photo- and video shooting in Iceland
Michael Najjar and his team have just returned from a three week photo- and video shooting in Iceland. The spectacular footage they shot forms the raw material for new artworks on terraforming and climate change. Terraforming is the process whereby a hostile environment, i.e. a planet that is too cold, too hot, or has an unbreathable atmosphere, is altered to make it suitable for human life. This could involve modifying its temperature, atmosphere, surface topography, and ecology. The artificial creation of a sustainable ecosystem on a lifeless planet like Mars is a fascinating vision that might one day guarantee our survival as a species.
The new artworks will be presented for the first time at the upcoming exhibition "Planetary Echoes" at the Alfred Ehrhardt Stiftung Berlin in April this year. In 1938 German photographer and filmmaker Alfred Ehrhardt undertook a two-month photo and film expedition across Iceland. This adventurous journey led him into untouched "primal landscape" shaped by glaciers and volcanoes, where he hoped to gain insights into the origins of the Earth. Accompanied by Dieter Jaufmann, Michael Najjar filmed and photographed many of the same locations that Alfred Ehrhardt visited almost a century ago. Ehrhardt’s goal of discovering the Earth´s origins is paired to the most existential question of the 21st century: saving the Earth’s future.
Production company: Pegasus Pictures, Reykjavik
Pegasus organisation: Bryn Birgisdóttir
Video camera operator: Dieter Jaufmann
Mountain guide: Stefan Mantler
Technical support: Hasselblad, DRS Berlin
12 January, 2017
Michael portrays future Mars robot „Valkyrie“ at Edinburgh Centre for Robotics
In December 2016 Michael visited Edinburgh Centre for Robotics to take pictures of „Valkyrie“, the next generation of human robots. Developed by NASA-JSC Valkyrie is one of the most advanced humanoid robots in the world. The robot was constructed in 2015 and delivered to the University of Edinburgh in Spring 2016 for further testing and research. According to NASA, we should see the first humans landing on Mars by 2033. Along this journey, the space agency is planning to send robots first to prepare the later landing of human astronauts. The idea behind this collaboration with the Edinburgh Center for Robotics is to extend the autonomy of these robots to send them, or their descendants, in hostile environments such as Mars. The UK research team is lead by Prof. Sethu Vijayakumar.
Weighing 125 kg and standing 1.8m tall, Valkyrie will enable breakthroughs in humanoid control, motion planning and perception. The robot could help the space agency with the colonization of Mars by helping to construct a habitat for future human space explorers. The delay of communication between the Earth and the Red Planet prevent humans to remotely control robots on Mars’ surface; robots that will be needed to build structures, habitats, do common work or even scientific tasks. This delay between these two planets, which can be from 3 to 21 minutes in a one-way transmission, basically removes the possibility of remote control. If the project is successful, Valkyrie could receive general instructions and choose how to organize work time and which tool to use to fulfill various instructions. Valkyrie is also equipped with a Multisense SL Camera and LIDAR array to track its surroundings easily. Advancements in artificial intelligence and faster computers will certainly help Valkyrie perform such tasks. Humans will certainly need robots to help discover and explore planets throughout our galaxy.
Michael takes pictures of Arianespace VA233 milestone mission
On 17 November 2016 at 10.06 am Ariane 5 VA233 blasted off into space from the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in French Guiana. With this milestone mission Arianespace placed four more satellites for the Galileo constellation in orbit.
Galileo, an iconic project for Europe, is a new civil global satellite navigation system. Under civilian control, it will offer a guaranteed, high-precision positioning service and will end Europe’s dependence on the American GPS system. The program is funded and owned by the European Union, with overall responsibility for management and implementation held by the European Commission. To date, 14 Galileo satellites have been orbited by Arianespace Soyuz launchers on seven missions from French Guiana. With the inaugural Ariane 5 launch, this number was increased to 18. When complete, the Galileo system will consist of 24 operational satellites, along with the ground infrastructure for the provision of positioning, navigation and timing services.
Michael wants to thank Arianespace for their great support and photo permission. Special thanks also to Hasselblad for the technical support which made it possible to portray this historic mission in a very unique way.
12 October, 2016
Michael Najjar is one of the few Hasselblad Ambassadors worldwide.
There are few achievements in the history of man that rival our explorations into space. And few images as unifying, moving, and widely recognized as those photographs taken during these journeys. Photos that have changed the way we see our world and ourselves. Few would deny that the now over four decades of space photography have given us a new worldview. No, the basic laws of science have not changed as a result of these images; no, the ideas of Kepler, Newton, and Einstein have not been eclipsed by photos from beyond our planet. However these pictures from space have added new dimensions to our understanding of this, our own small section of the Milky Way. They have changed the way we view the universe and our part in it. They have made us feel small, made us feel large, and made us feel bound to one another as humans. 12 Hasselblad cameras have been on the moon and many others in space.
Michael visits the new SpaceShipTwo at SpaceShipCompany in the Mojave desert.
Michael is a Virgin Galactic Pioneer Astronaut since 2011 and plans to travel into space with Richard Branson´s SpaceShipTwo in the near future. The spaceship vehicles are designed to carry two pilots and six passengers on launches into suborbital space. On 31 October 2014 (Michael´s Birthday) during a test flight, VSS Enterprise, the first SpaceShipTwo craft, broke up in flight and crashed in the Mojave desert. A preliminary investigation suggested the feathering system, the craft's descent device, deployed too early.
After more than one year of intensive work by the VG team the second SpaceShipTwo spacecraft, VSS Unity, was unveiled on 19 February 2016. The vehicle is currently undergoing ground and air system integration testing. Michael was given the opportunity to visit the SpaceShipCompany factory located in the Mojave desert and also talk to the engineers about their work.
12 September, 2016
„Space Suite“ shortlisted for European Hotel Award
Michael has created a truly out-of-this-world experience at the Kameha Grand Hotel Zurich, Switzerland - an entire futuristic space station housed in a new hotel building. The “Space Suite” has now been nominated and shortlisted for the prestigious European Hotel Design Awards which celebrate exceptional hotel design and architecture, honouring the work of leading architects, artists and designers. The awards acknowledge creativity, innovation and excellence across thirteen different categories. They are judged by a panel of industry experts and peers representing the various disciplines involved in new hotel projects across Europe.
La Maisonette at JW Marriott Resort & Spa, Venice
Matteo Thun & Partners
Milano Suite at Mandarin Oriental, Milan
Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners
The Presidential Suite at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Spa, Liverpool
Falconer Chester Hall
The Royal Suite at The Lanesborough, London
Alberto Pinto Interior Design
The Sterling Suite at The Langham, London
The Space Suite at Kameha Grand, Zurich
Studio Michael Najjar
25 July, 2016
Michael Najjar photographs the Vulcain 2 rocket engine in France
In July 2016 Michael Najjar went to Vernon and Les Mureaux in France to take pictures of the assembly of the Vulcain 2 engine and its integration in the Ariane 5 launcher main stage. Vulcain rocket engines have been used since 1996 to propel Ariane 5 rockets in their first ten minutes of flight, up to an altitude of 200 km. Overall, they provide 8% of the total thrust needed at liftoff, and the full thrust of the propulsion phase after booster separation and before ignition of the upper stage. The Vulcain is ignited by three pyrotechnic devices on the launch pad; six seconds later the solid rocket boosters are ignited and the rocket lifts off.
The engine measures 3m high, 1.76m in diameter, weighs 1,686 kg and is located at the centre of the base of Ariane 5. It delivers 115 tonnes of thrust, achieving this by mixing two cryogenic liquids: hydrogen at –251°C and oxygen at –184°C. Connected to the Vulcain are tanks holding 25 tonnes of liquid hydrogen and 130 tonnes of liquid oxygen. These cryogenic propellants are channelled into the Vulcain’s high-pressure combustion chamber via two turbo pumps. Hydrogen bursts into flame on contact with oxygen inside this chamber in a chemical reaction that generates very hot combustion gases which are expelled by gas expansion through the nozzle at supersonic velocities higher than 4,000 m/s, giving the needed thrust to the launcher.
02 June, 2016
“space garden“ at museum Marta Herford
Michael Najjar´s work "space garden" is currently on view at museum Marta Herford, Germany as part of the exhibition "Unsettling Green - Focusing on a color". What happens when we see green – instead of, for example, red? In this first exhibition on a “disturbing” colour, its topicality, its contemporary functions and meanings are at the centre of an extremely exciting presentation. Different aspects and interconnections are presented in painting, installations and video, giving rise to a lively panorama of the contemporary relevance or a colour which is as everyday as it is irritating.
“space garden” visualizes the idea of future greenhouses in space. It is based on photographs taken at the Eden Project, which is a complex of artificial biomes set in Cornwall in the south of England. The giant multidome greenhouse is related to Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic structures and houses over 100,000 plants collected from all around the world. “space garden” explores the idea of how the experiences made by Eden Project could one day help in installing a biome on a spaceship or a space station – or even in creating an autonomous ecosystem, a habitat for plants on the Moon or on Mars. It also questions how zero or microgravity affects the growth of plants. Plants can grow even when not rooted in soil; they always grow in the direction of the light.
Every year, the Italian city of Reggio Emilia hosts a spectacular photography festival entitled Fotografia Europea, and the 2016 edition will be its 11th, bringing a rich cultural program spread across the town and its cultural institutions. The main theme of Fotografia Europea 2016 will be roads, journeys, borders. Accompanied by conferences, performances, educational initiatives and other events, Fotografia Europea 2016 will put an emphasis on the role of photography in contemporary society. By appointing the concept of “roads” as its main focus, the festival examines the theory and practice of the medium in the last three decades, its borders, frontiers and transit points.
Michael Najjar was invited to present works from his "outer space" series at Palazzo da Mosta.
Exhibition dates: 6 May - 10 July 2016 www.fotografiaeuropea.it
01 April, 2016
„outer space“ exhibition opens in New York
Benrubi Gallery presents Michael Najjar's solo exhibition, "outer space"- the artist’s first show with the gallery and the first major showing of this series in New York City. On view are 10 large scale photographs, 3 video works and vision statements by Buzz Aldrin and Michael Lopez-Algeria.