Student News

Animation Student Wins Moon Art And Design Contest
Zachary Madere could not believe his eyes when he read the e-mail announcing his first place win in NASA's Life and Work on the Moon Art & Design Contest.

Zachary Madere
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Crater Core Sample, by Zachary Madere. Credit: Zachary Madere

Additional Image:
› Madere with artwork (jpg)
Credit: NASA

Zachary, a student majoring in Illustration and Two Dimensional Animation at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, had come home late after a long night of work, with a plan to go straight to bed. Before getting his much needed sleep, though, he decided to give his e-mail a quick check. What he saw dashed away any need for rest. He had been notified as the first place winner with "Best Overall Score" for his oil painting, "Crater Core Sample."

"I was not expecting it at all," the soft-spoken art student said, disbelief still in his voice. "I started jumping around and screaming, accidentally knocking down some furniture. Right away I shared the news with my roommate, an artist who's like a brother to me. It was really exciting!"

Zachary learned of the contest, which is sponsored by NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., through his father, who is fascinated with space. He sent his son information about the competition as well as articles about the moon. One story in particular caught Zachary's eye.

"I read an article about finding and using water on the moon, and I was really intrigued by it. Discovering water on the lunar surface and using it for something, like radiation shielding, seemed like an amazing idea."

It was just the inspiration he needed.

Zachary started planning and sketching ideas. He did his research work, too. When he had questions about details, such as shadows on the moon or radiation shielding, he contacted a Denver University professor to ensure that he understood the concepts correctly.

The end result was "Crater Core Sample," an oil painting featuring an astronaut holding an icy cylinder in a darkened crater, while two other astronauts look on. It is a compelling piece of art, evoking a sense of wonder and discovery.

Kristine Beam
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Dark Side of the Moon, by Kristine Beam. Credit: Kristine Beam

Additional Image:
› Beam With Sculpture (jpg)
Credit: NASA

Winners and winning entries took all forms this year, as evidenced by a former stay-at-home mom who submitted a sculpture entitled "Dark Side of the Moon." Kristine Beam, who attends Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, placed first in the three-dimensional category. Kristine was encouraged to enter the contest by her professor, Leo Morissey. Much like Zachary, Kristine was astonished about her win, and also very humbled.

"I was quite taken aback," she said. "I was satisfied with my work, but I wasn't expecting recognition, and I certainly wasn't expecting to win first place. Creating the sculpture and entering the contest was actually part of my class assignment; if my professor had not encouraged me, I may not have entered at all!"

Regarding her work, Kristine states that, "The sculpture is created in such a way that the viewer can be part of the artwork. A mirror is part of the sculpture's design, and as you look into the mirror and see your reflection, you can contemplate working and living on the moon, as well as the enormity of the universe."

In contrast to the visually appealing art entries, one first place winning work cannot be seen at all, but instead, must be heard.

Matthew Bruemmer, a 16-year-old student from Ronald Reagan High School in San Antonio, Texas, placed first in the high school digital category with his classical symphony entitled, "Back to the Moon."

Matthew, who hopes to work for NASA as an aeronautical engineer, designed his symphony to represent an astronaut's voyage to the moon. The beginning of his melody represents lift-off, the piano solo in the middle represents the ethereal feeling of floating in space and the ending represents landing on the moon.

Matthew Bruemmer
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Matthew Bruemmer. Credit: NASA

› Play 'Back to the Moon' (mp3, 7.7 mb)

"I've always been interested in everything NASA does," Matthew said. "I learned about the contest on NASA's web-site and started working on my symphony right away; I was really excited when I found out I had won first place!"

Zachary, Kristine and Matthew's art entries were some of more than 90 imaginative and inventive submissions from both the college and high school level. Other students also deserve praise for their entries, which include two-dimensional artwork, sculpture, three-dimensional art, digital art and video.

Altogether, a total of 147 students from more than 70 institutions participated as teams or individually, with entries from 25 U.S. states, France, Poland, India and Romania. Judges rated the art based on originality, creativity, artistic elements, and if the concept was valid for harsh lunar conditions.

The first place winners will be recognized on July 20, at the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C., as part of a celebration marking the 40th anniversary of the first Apollo landing. Later, the winning art will be displayed at NASA facilities, public venues and elsewhere as requested.

The goal of NASA's Life and Work on the Moon Art & Design Contest is to engage non-science and engineering students in NASA's exploration mission. Next year's contest will open in September and will be expanded to include a literature section.

To view the gallery of entries and learn more about the contest, visit:

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

Tommi Barrett
NASA Langley Research Center