HEMI Fellow Prof. Sarah Hörst Collaborates with MICA Student to Create Artistic Visualization of Titan’s Atmosphere

Nov 13, 2018 | No Comments | By Michelle Pagano

Sarah Hörst and Amy Wetsch

(Image: Will Kirk / Homewood Photography)

Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, is one of the outer solar system’s most intriguing places. Though it has no liquid water on its surface, Titan boasts rivers and lakes of liquid methane and ethane, and its dense orange atmosphere gives it an ethereal appearance.

Though no human has set foot on that distant moon, an exhibit open now through Feb. 23 at the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower in downtown Baltimore allows visitors to experience Titan’s otherworldly appeal.

Featuring mixed-media sculptures, drawings, and large-scale installations, “Lateral Distance” was created by Amy Wetsch, a Maryland Institute College of Art graduate student who spent the summer in the laboratory of Johns Hopkins planetary scientist Sarah Hörst. The pair came together as part of the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute‘s Extreme Arts Program, which connects scientists and engineers with MICA professors and students to explore their differing perspectives on extreme events and to find common ground.

An MFA candidate in MICA’s Mount Royal School of Multidisciplinary Art, Wetsch found herself fascinated by Hörst’s research, which concerns atmospheric chemistry and focuses on Titan.

“All of my work deals with thinking about and uncovering mysteries in various fields of science,” she said. “When I first met Dr. Sarah Hörst, she told me about how she was simulating atmospheres to better understand Titan and uncover its mysteries. It was at that point that I knew I had to work with her and help her artistically visualize and simulate Titan’s atmosphere.”

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