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Tuesday 23 January 2018

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A microscopic Ark of life, gathered from all corners of the globe, representing diverse symbiotic relationships, will narrate our co-evolution. DNA samples from bacteria and protists, to various plants, animals, and fungi will be clustered according to distinct biomes. - Image credit: Moon Arts Group


Moon Arks And Earth Art | Human Culture In Space

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Art projects are headed to the Moon.  Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute will send a rover to the Moon in competition for the Google Lunar X Prize. Legendary roboticist and founder of Astrobotic inc., Red Whittaker, has invited a team of artists to join this expedition.

The Moon Arts Group envisions creative ways of establishing a link between the Earth and Moon, advancing the presence of human culture in space, and facilitatating never before realized opportunities for art and exploration.

During this mission, scheduled to take place in 2013, the rover will deploy a suite of artworks on the lunar surface – the Moon Arts Project. Lowry Burgess renowned Space Artist and professor at Carnegie Mellon, has brought together a large group of international artists, scientists and engineers involved with emerging media, new and ancient technologies as well as hybrid processes. Together they have collaboratively generated a dozen visionary Moon Art projects that fall into three main categories.

Lunar Performances employ the robot to carry out choreographed activities that will take place on the Moon, as a singular event or series of gestures

Lunar Cargo consists of small physical objects that will permanently reside on the Moon, as a repository of information reflecting life and culture on Earth.

Lunar Interaction uses high bandwidth communication to let people on Earth engage with the lunar surface in a creative and exploratory way.

While the art payload will be light, and highly packable, the art is designed to last millions, even billions, of years, undisturbed but for the lunar dust that will settle, says Burgess. There’s a Moon Bell that uses radio waves, telescopes and software to broadcast sounds from the earth to the moon and back; a reliquary containing the fragrant essence of 52 flowers and trees on Earth; art that hopes to invite a global audiences to hear and see themselves on the moon through Internet connections to a robot.

When a culture moves into an unknown territory, there’s an opportunity to make a cultural statement about our highest values as a human race, explains Burgess. “It’s the ethos of outer space. We will be leaving clues about ourselves and who we are. This is what our project is all about.”

During the first Moon landing, the world stood transfixed in amazement. It has been 39 years since the Apollo 17 astronauts returned to Earth. In the intervening decades, not a single human has set foot on the Moon or traversed the void beyond orbit, leaving the future of space exploration in question.

We need to reawaken the sense of sublime wonder fundamental to our relationship with the Cosmos. Through collaborations between artists, scientists, and engineers we find, in our creative process, ways to overcome the separate languages, logics, and methodologies of our disciplines. Opening a free and inclusive space for dialogues about our place in the universe and responsibilities toward one another here on Earth is central to our agenda at this time.

The project is profiled in detail below:


lunar performance

Lunar performances employ the rover to carry out choreographed movements and leave deliberate marks in its tracks.

moon marks

Moon Marks is a series of drawings on the moon left in the tracks of the rover. One of the first activities that we might carry out on the Moon is a series of drawings to announce our arrival, and reflect on what it means to gaze back at Earth.  The rover’s wheels themselves are artistic tools designed to leave meaningful imprints that can be translated musically, visually and kinesthetically.

In the history of humankind, the desire to make marks, and tell a story through pictorial means, is fundamental. Ancient drawings on cave walls, made by artist over 50 millennia ago, serve as the earliest record of human culture. Just as the immortal boot-prints compacted by the first visitors to the Moon have outlived their makers, this series of lines, deliberately traced in the regolith, may last for many generations long after our civilization has faded away.

CLICK TO ENLARGE || Image credit: Moon Arts Group

One drawing might be that of a large and venerable circle, among the most universal and broadly meaningful geometric figures in nature. On a large-scale, the circle circumscribes a space, implying the foundations of a dwelling, the perimeter of a sundial, or a portrait of Earth – the most prominent object on the lunar horizon. Smaller Moon drawings executed on the surface will be selected from among thousands submitted by children and adults, and narrowed down to the most popular using crowd-sourcing technologies allowing users to vote on their favorites.

moon melody

The rover’s wheels themselves are artistic tools designed to leave meaningful imprints that can be translated musically, visually and kinesthetically.


CLICK TO ENLARGE || Image credit: Astrobotic, Inc.

lunar cargo

Lunar Cargo consists of small physical objects that will permanently reside on the Moon, as a repository of information reflecting Earth’s diverse life, culture and geography.

the moon ark reliquary

The Moon Reliquary encompasses a collection of human remains, the Lunark, and Moon fragrances. Samples of terrestrial elements, organic molecules and synthetic compounds, unite in a torus of silocon aerogel that surrounds the central column of the lunar rover’s landing module. Contents will include aerogel, the lowest-density solid on Earth, which will preserve the contents of this potentially billion year time capsule in a lightweight structure.


Lunark is a vessel containing Carbon, Water and DNA samples stored in micro-scale capsules. The Ark represents life. Carbon: the element fundamental to its structure: Water: the medium in which it thrives. DNA: the organic code that defines how life builds itself, operates, and self- replicates.

moon arc

CLICK TO ENLARGE || Image credit: Moon Arts Group

moon fragrance

Describe the scent of the Moon. Without physically going there, one can vividly imagine how the Moon might smell. Moon Fragrance puts the olfactory landscape of the Moon in a bottle, and conveys our feelings for this small and lifeless world as a rich and evocative aroma. A handful of professional noses from of the world’s top perfumeries have been commissioned to compose a set of unique lunar perfumes to embody our desire for the Moon and its intangible allure.

earth tapestry

The Earth Tapestry archives essential information about our planet in a form that we may reasonably expect future civilizations and intelligences to understand. A series of maps, icons, other images, and texts will be engraved on a plaque, sheltered from even the slow erosion of micrometeorite impacts. This artifact, designed to survive millions of years, will indicate significant locations, serving as a marker plaque for lunar visitors or citizens as they stare up at the Earth. The marked places could include locations of time capsules; museums of art, natural history, science and technology, and other facets of human culture; seed banks and other storehouses of biological information; libraries and universities; and national monuments and UNESCO world heritage sites. The legends will point towards our great cities and areas of biological, climatological, cultural, geographical, or historical significance. The plaque may also narrate personal journeys, permitting insight into individual lives in order to complement the global point of view.

moon poetry

Moon Poetry is being prepared for etching on the inner and outer surfaces of the robot and on the perimeter of the reliquary. Artists in the group and guests will serve on a review panel to curate an anthology of poetry for and about the Moon.

lunar interaction

Lunar Interaction exploits high-bandwidth communication with the robot to facilitate sensory links between the Earth and Moon.

the moon bell

Lunar Interaction exploits high-bandwidth communication with the robot to facilitate sensory links between the Earth and Moon resonance.

radio waves

CLICK TO ENLARGE || Image credit: Moon Arts Group

lunar lyre

The Lunar Lyre is the computer interface that controls and modulates various signals from infrasonic to ultrasonic.

touch the moon

Touch the Moon will recreate the texture and topography of the Moon using a haptic interface that takes real-time data from sensors embedded in the wheels of the rover. On Earth, anyone will be able to feel the lunar surface scrolling by as the rover slowly progresses over the cratered surface. This may be presented along with corresponding 3D video from the robot.


Image credit: Moon Arts Group

moon eye

Moon Eye will broadcast video from the Moon in high definition 3D, and show us our home planet from a lunar perspective in a never before seen depth and resolution.


Image credit: Moon Arts Group

see me on the moon

See Me on the Moon will give internet users an opportunity to upload pictures to the lander and see it displayed against the backdrop of the Moon on the newest electrophoretic screen (a.k.a. color Kindle pad).

hear the moon

Hear the Moon will let audiences talk to the lander, causing the surface of the spacecraft to vibrate. While there is no atmosphere to propagate soundwaves on the Moon, the lander will function as a resonator, transducing physical vibrations through a contact microphone and broadcasting the audio back to Earth with a few seconds delay.

celebrating the moon

In preparation for this mission, projects that focus audience’s attention toward the Moon and celebrate its enduring influence will take place at international venues here on Earth. These events will highlight the cultural dimension of humanity’s relationship with the Moon, in addition to providing information about its physical history. By drawing parallels among cultures of the world and comparing the enormous variety of characterizations that humans have ascribed to the Moon, we see that every group of people has a unique way of explaining the significance of this most proximate and dazzling object in the night sky. In spite of this diversity of interpretations, of the Moon’s one thousand faces, the long record of stories and myths, art and poetry confirms the Moon as an indisputable presence for the billions of people who gaze up and marvel.

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One Response to “Moon Arks And Earth Art | Human Culture In Space”

  1. […] Astrobotic lunar rover project will carry artworks to the surface of the Moon: Moon Arcs And Earth Art – Human Culture In Space – Moonandback During this mission, scheduled to take place in 2013, the rover will deploy a suite of artworks on […]

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