NASA or MOMA? Play the Game!

By Megan Garber

One of the most enduring and inspiring side effects of space exploration is the pictures -- pictures of Earth taken from new heights; pictures of Earth's neighbors, taken from new angles; pictures that resemble, and in fact are, art. They are magical. They are mysterious. They are weird. They suggest, if they don't fully embody, why we go to the trouble of exploring in the first place. 

And they often resemble art of a more earthly variety. Below is a collection of images -- some of them created by prolific space photographer Chris Hadfield, taken from the International Space Station (we'll call those "NASA"), some of them created by nearly-as-prolific painters here on Earth (we'll call those "MOMA"). Here's a game: Can you tell the difference between the two? 

Scroll down for the key.

1. NASA or MOMA?

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Key:

1. NASA: A patchwork of farms in Central Asia (Via Chris Hadfield)
2. NASA: The Sahara desert (Via Chris Hadfield)
3. NASA: A storm, as seen from space (Via Chris Hadfield)
4. MOMA: Jean-Pierre Vieville, "Les futilités utiles" (Vieville Art Deco)
5. NASA: Rocks in Chile (Via Chris Hadfield)
6. NASA: An African lake (Via Chris Hadfield)
7. NASA: Farms in Saudi Arabia (Via Chris Hadfield)
8. MOMA: Gerhard Richter, "Grau, 898-15, 2006" (Marian Goodman Gallery)
9. MOMA: from Vincent Van Gogh, "Patch of Grass," 1887 (Wikimedia Commons)
10. NASA: Braided rolls of clouds over the Balkans (Via Chris Hadfield)
11. MOMA: Gerhard Richter, Green-Blue, 1993 (Gerhard Richter.com)
12. MOMA: Jean-Pierre Vieville, "Les particules inattendues" (Vieville Art Deco)
13. NASA: A fan of sand in oman (Via Chris Hadfield)
14. NASA: Rocks in Africa (Via Chris Hadfield)
15. MOMA: Jackson Pollock, Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist) (National Gallery of Art)
16. MOMA: Cai Guo-Qiang, Corcovado and Fantasia, 2013 (Collection of the artist)
17. NASA: Thunderstorms from above (Via Chris Hadfield)
18. MOMA: from Vincent Van Gogh, "Wheatfield With Crows," 1890 (Wikimedia Commons)
19. MOMA: Gerhard Richter, "15. Nov.06, 898-12," 2006 (Marian Goodman Gallery)

20. NASA: Australia from above (Via Chris Hadfield)

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/03/nasa-or-moma-play-the-game/274212/