Since 1963, more than eight hundred spacecraft have been launched into geosynchronous orbit, forming a man-made ring of satellites around the Earth. These satellites are destined to become the longest-lasting artifacts of human civilization, quietly floating through space long after every trace of humanity has disappeared from the planet.
Trevor Paglen’s The Last Pictures is a project that marks one of these spacecraft with a visual record of our contemporary historical moment. In 2012, the communications satellite EchoStar XVI was launched into geostationary orbit with the disc mounted to its anti-earth deck. While the satellite’s broadcast images are as fleeting as the light-speed radio waves they travel on, The Last Pictures will remain in outer space slowly circling the Earth until the Earth itself is no more.
The Last Pictures Artifact.
Some of the images on the disc.
EchoStar XVI launch in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, November 21st 2012.
Trevor Paglen, ‘The Last Pictures’ (2012)