Stories of Inspiration: Project Mars Poster Winner Adrianna

With dozens of incredible posters submitted through the Project Mars competition, we were inspired by the unique visions of our future on Mars.

This week, we checked in with our First Place poster winner, Adrianna Allen of Michigan. Adrianna’s 3D model and digital print shows a strand of DNA as a ladder from Earth to Mars, showing that the journey to the Red Planet truly is a part of human evolution.

Learn what inspires Adrianna’s work in astronomical art and be sure to check her poster out below.

Project Mars Winning Poster

1. What inspired you to get into art?

I have always had an interest in both art and science. When it came time to make decisions regarding college, I was introduced to medical illustration, a field that blended these interests. Perfect! Now, having recently completed my BFA in Medical Illustration, I use my scientific illustration skillset to focus mainly on freelance astronomical illustration. A selection of my work can be viewed on my website

2. Which artist is your biggest influence?

I find one of my biggest influences to actually come from a group of space artists (of which I am a member): the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA)! This is a wonderfully supportive and talented community of space artists, with the goal “to promote education about astronomical art and to foster international cooperation in artistic work inspired by the exploration of the Universe.”

3. If you had the honor to name the first rocket to Mars, what would you name it?

Hmm… that’s a challenging task. How about the Hershel?

4. If you could have dinner with another artist, who would you choose?

I would have liked to meet Alan Bean. Someone who walked on the Moon, who then created art from his experience- how intriguing! I’m sorry I’ll never have the chance to meet him and that only a handful of moonwalkers remain who can share their perspectives with us.

5. What excites you most about traveling to Mars?

What excites me the most about traveling to Mars is the prospect of being one step closer to understanding our origins. We could be closer to answering that big question of “Are we alone?” People typically think we need to leave the solar system to answer that question, but I think the answer could lie in our own backyard. Traveling to Mars also provides us with another learning opportunity on how to overcome our differences to work together towards a brighter future.

6. How did you learn about the Project Mars competition?

As thoroughly as I can, I keep track of everything I can find that integrates science and art, because I find this fusion to be critical in fostering the growth of curiosity and science literacy in the public. Being a scientific illustrator with a focus on space, I was thrilled to find the Project Mars competition through SciArt Exchange.

7. Who and what would you bring on your journey to Mars?

Well… I want humans to venture to Mars and I think it’s only natural that our evolutionary drive to explore leads us there, but I like it here on my home planet. If I did travel to Mars, I would need to bring videos, sounds, and scent memories of outdoors.

8. What is your earliest memory of science or science fiction?

Like many other people, some of my earliest memories of being emotionally moved by science stems from watching Contact and the Cosmos series created by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan. Through the art and illustrations I now create, I hope to instill in others that same scientific wonder and curiosity I felt watching/reading Contact and Cosmos.

9. Who is your favorite character from science fiction?

One of my favorite characters is Samantha Carter from Stargate. She’s bold and brilliant and not afraid to show it.

10. Aliens???

I like to imagine that in some place, in some time, the universe has come to know itself in the way life has on Earth. To pull a quote from Contact, “The universe is a pretty big place. If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space.”