Ground control to Major Tom!

Edinburgh Napier student reaches final of NASA Project Mars arts competition

Date posted

11 October 2018


An Edinburgh Napier graphic design student has created a short film that is literally out of this world – and bagged a place in the final of a NASA arts competition in the process.

Fourth year graphic design student Tom Lansdown’s short animated film ‘Patience’ has been shortlisted as part of the NASA Project Mars art and film contest.

Tasked with bringing his own interpretation of NASA’s work to send humans to Mars to life, Tom’s animated piece tells the story of the upcoming Orion mission through the eyes of the Curiosity Rover, which is still present on Mars today after landing on the planet in 2012.

The film – which the 21-year-old created as part of his Arts Direction module at Edinburgh Napier – features a number of the spacecrafts that NASA has sent to Mars over the years, including the Viking 1, Pathfinder, and the Spirit Rover and Phoenix Lander.

The touching piece then cuts to some of the real-life footage of the development of the Orion mission, seen through the eyes of the Curiosity Rover from Mars.

Tom said: “I’m completely overwhelmed to be nominated. Just to have been acknowledged in an international competition feels surreal. It has really reinvigorated my enthusiasm as I start my fourth year.

“My film is set on Mars and you get to see all the spacecrafts that NASA has sent to the planet each step of the way. I really wanted to emphasis the journey the agency has been on to get to Mars. I tried to give the craft personalities to allow the view to feel as if they were going on the journey as well.

“The film was part of our Art Direction module, following on from a learn to animate module the semester before. My tutor Andy really helped with crafting a story around the concept, giving a university and freelance perspective on how to engage the audience.

“My interest in space is really just a hobby. I’ve always kept up with the latest SpaceX or Blue Origin news – it is definitely the future!

“Being involved with a competition like this will definitely be of benefit to me. If anything it’s given me more confidence in my work going forward that will solidify my faith in myself and my ideas.”

The Project Mars competition is a collaboration between NASA, SciArt Exchange and Mori and Associates and aims to give early aerospace career professionals and students a chance to submit a poster or short film that creatively envisioned NASA’s human voyages to Mars.

Judges from the competition include Gareth Edwards, Film Director of Rogue One, A Star Wars Story and Joshua Grossberg, Vice President of Creative at New York advertising agency McCANN. Retired NASA astronaut Nicole Scott – who was dubbed the Artistic Astronaut after completing the first watercolour in space – was also part of the judging panel.

Patience - a short film by Tom Lansdown.

Study at Edinburgh Napier