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Cartoon history of race to Mars


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Despite the much publicised loss of Beagle 2 spacecraft in December 2003, and the criticism that followed, the man who masterminded the mission has never lost his sense of humour.

Several years on, Professor Pillinger has turned his hand to art - putting together an exhibition of cartoons on the planet that has jinxed many a spacecraft.

Mars exploration through the eyes of the cartoonist

"It gives us an opportunity to reach different people who are not necessarily turned on to science and engineering," he says.

"I want to demonstrate that scientists do have a sense of humour, we are human and we enjoy a laugh even if it is at our own expense sometimes."

The display is a quirky pictorial history of our fascination with the Red Planet over the centuries, cataloguing the highs and lows of Mars exploration through the irreverent, and sometimes cruel, eyes of the cartoonist.

"It does tell a story - there are all manner of subjects covered - there's the history of Mars exploration, the fact that Mars comes close to us every 15-17 years; there's the story of looking for life, Beagle's got its own little section," says Pillinger.

"And we mustn't forget that the cartoon and art have been a political weapon for a long time," he adds, wryly.

"It's just amazing how many people have been sent to Mars by cartoonists, particularly political figures, who lose their way, shall we say."

Mars in their Eyes is open to the public until 1 July at the Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London, WC1A 2HH.

Source: BBC News

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