Space Remixes

It’s been a good long while since I documented one of my random research spirals, but this one was pretty interesting.

While catching up on my Instagram friends today, I saw this intriguing background on Aaron Duran‘s laptop screen:

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bx2gh9dhKPe/

I wasn’t the only one who thought it was a cool pic:

Since Aaron helpfully provided attribution, it was easy to find his source:

And since the artist included their name in the lower left corner, it wasn’t too difficult (with the help of Google Image Search) to find their original post on DeviantArt. Note that it was originally posted in January of 2012, judging from the timestamps on the first comments in the discussion thread.

But something else turned up while I was doing the image search, because Google’s algorithms also match similar looking images. And this one was very similar indeed:

https://www.reddit.com/r/wallpapers/comments/is6im/space_caf%C3%A9/

The comments in that Reddit thread are from July of 2011, a full six months earlier. Comparing the two images, you can see how one was modified into the other–I won’t do a full forensic accounting, I leave that as an exercise for the reader–and in looking more closely, I realized that some things in the “source” Reddit image still bugged me. The top of the “diner” looking like someone had fiddled with the brightness/contrast settings. The bottom edge of the window looking too clean against the lower panels.

And then, while scrolling through more image search results, trying to locate a higher resolution version that might show some of these possible artifacts more clearly, I hit the jackpot:

http://www.freakingnews.com/Edward-Hopper-s-Nighthawks-in-Space-Pics-79668.asp

If you’re not familiar, Freaking News is a photoshop contest site focusing on news, politics, and celebrities. And according to the timestamp, that image was uploaded on April 13, 2010.

So there you have it! Just to be clear, I love remixes: each of these artists went to a lot of effort to create their respective works, and I continue to be fascinated by how information propagates and mutates through the internet.

ETA (15 Oct 2019): I found the original NASA image from 2006! “[A]stronaut Robert L. Curbeam, Jr. (left) and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Christer Fuglesang… on the International Space Station.”

https://images.nasa.gov/details-s116e05983

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