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If it weren’t for the blue skies above, it’d be easy to mistake this image for a still from a sci-fi flick.

When
11:50am
6.4.13

Where
Mauna Loa, Hawai‘i Island

But the rocky, inhospitable terrain is, in fact, in Hawai‘i, on top of a cinder cone ridge on the flank of Mauna Loa. Here, scientists with the HI-SEAS program are exploring the viability of living on Mars by dwelling in a habitat dome (seen peeking above the rocks here). But don’t think these savants lack creativity. Take, for instance, this shot by Dr. Angelo Vermeulen, a HI-SEAS team member who is also an artist, biologist, space scientist and community organizer all rolled into one. For this tableau, Dr. Vermeulen drew from cinema (Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey), but also 19th century Romantic painting (Caspar David Friedrich’s “Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog,” for instance). Thus, this interdisciplinary talent shows us a vision of a possible future along with the timeless wonder that drives humanity to explore.