All that is Earth has once been sky;
Down from the sun of old she came,
Or from some star that travelled by
Too close to his entangling flame.
- from The Meteorite by C. S. Lewis (1946)
Those glittery sprays of shooting stars that bling up the night sky are actually less lofty than their glamorous name implies. For they are grains of dust from space that are burned up in the Earth's atmosphere before reaching the ground. The rocks that do reach the ground originated in rocky bodies located between Mars and Jupiter that orbit the Sun, where they are called asteroids. Upon falling to Earth, are then renamed meteorites.
While meteorites are not from the stars, they give scientists big clues about how the stars - like the Sun - were formed and what enabled Earth to take shape over four billion years ago. Although their fiery passage across the night sky is arguably their most fascinating feature, they contain a record of our social system's history going back 4.6 billion years, which is why scientists study them. By learning about how our solar system evolved - many meteorites are unchanged and provide a time-travel window into the earliest conditions - researchers are better positioned to predict the future impact of meteors. "There is a real but very small risk that we will be wiped out by the impact of an asteroid or comet," observes Nick Bostrom, a futurist at Oxford University who is also behind Existential-Risk.org, which focuses on threats to humanity's future. However, to wipe us out, a falling "star" would have to be at least a km - or more - in diameter. Which is why this threat is relegated to the category of very, very small.
Nonetheless, these celestial historical-records are fascinating, and not just to academics ruminating about the various ways we can bring about our own demise. "Inspired by the landing of the Philae lander-module on Comet 67P/Чурюмова — Герасименко [or just 67P]," note the duo behind Studio Swine (Super Wide Interdisciplinary New Explorers), we "explored comets and meteorites that have fallen to earth." They then followed the glittery trail to the Natural History Museum in NYC, where they 3D scanned various rocks, combined the images with traditional cobbler techniques and created some *stellar* shoes!
The exterior is a material usually found hidden inside high-end cars and buildings to provide sound insulation. To manufacture aluminum foam, the metal is first melted. Once in a molten state, it is then injected with gassing agents which transform it into a substance not unlike pumice.
But even though it's comprised of 90% air and extremely lightweight, it's apparently robust enough to walk upon. Which Swine's Azusa Murakami (an architect) and Alexander Groves (an artist) note conveys the sense of large rocks floating in space. "It's a spectacular example," they add, "of how industry and natural forces can emit a beautiful material."
- Lesley Scott
Actively embracing the future - from the earth to the stars - with a desire to make it fashionable and timely is a signature of the Futurenetic Fashion Tribe. For more of my posts and podcasts about this tribe, CLICK HERE. To learn more about each of fashion's four mega-tribes that I track, START HERE.