Planet Labs art director Forest Stearns took 28 of their "Dove" Earth-imaging mini satellites and gave them a bit of a facelift before launching them into space. Stearns and his team decided on a theme of migratory animals "to celebrate all the life that is moving around the world with us humans." Stearns painted a shark, zebra, elephant, various birds, a whale, and other animals onto canvasses then used a laser etching machine to transfer every detail to the shoebox-sized satellites.

When asked why they wanted to send art into space, Stearns responded: "Symbolic mark-making has always been an important part of the human experience. From caves to canvases to satellites, we all have an ambition to tell our story. And as we migrate upwards and outwards with space technology, we felt it was important to take this expressive instinct with us... We are putting orbiting art in space to tell the human audience about the world that made them."

Obviously we won't be able to see the art while it is in orbit, but the fact that it's there is kind of cool. Street artist Invader successfully sent one of his original mosaics into the inky sky a couple years ago, but the shark and killer whale drawn by Stearns may trump that.

[via FastCoExist]