Frank Malina was a rocket scientist, head of scientific research for UNESCO, and painter who founded the journal of art and science Leonardo in 1967. He made "kinetic paintings" such as Dark Moon (1966) and Away from the Earth II (1966), which drew on scientific images such as probability curves, microphotography, and space exploration. Malina's moving paintings utilized his Lumidyne system of spinning discs to create otherworldly swaths of color and light, and were being made as the United States and the Soviet Union were engaged in the space race. Malina said, "I see the work of artists as an important effort to communicate new visions of the universe as found through scientific research to the community at large."
Malina's process involved the painting of a main composition on a "stator," or stationary transparent plate, while secondary designs were made on similarly transparent discs, dubbed "rotors," that, as might be surmised, rotated. Malina placed light bulbs or fluorescent tubes behind the rotor, which lay behind the stator. The light would pass through the rotor, through the stator, and onto a translucent screen, the "diffusor," whose surface would often be lent additional textures through the placement of wire mesh or cellophane overlays on the rotors and stator. Malina also developed a smaller Reflectodyne system in four parts: "a light source, a mobile chromatic disc placed in front of this source, a number of reflecting surfaces, and a screen."