9,000 Sketches to be Immortalized on the Moon
Carnegie Mellon University to send crowdsourced art to the moon with robot rover as part of Moon Arts Ark project
A small robot rolls across the surface of the moon. Behind it in the dust, the wheels leave a meandering track as it changes course according to instructions from Earth. These tracks remain unchanged, untouched for years, perhaps centuries or even milennia, until a future visitor discovers them and realizes that the lines describe an image: a drawing created by an artist who contributed to the Moon Drawings project initiated by the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University.
During the spring of 2015, the project began collecting images, drawings created on the project website using a single continuous line. Cartoons, names, abstract patterns, whatever the artists wished.
“A couple of months ago, we collected close to 9,000 drawings from people,” says Golan Levin, director of the STUDIO and co-creator of the project with David Newbury. “Those drawings are presently being etched onto a sapphire disc by a company in France.” When complete, the disc will be incorporated into a sculpture called the Moon Arts Ark.
In 2016, the sculpture and the disk will be carried to the moon by the Andy rover, developed by CMU and Astrobotics. There the Moon Arts Ark will remain, a monument containing elements of all human arts and humanities. Circumstances permitting, the Andy rover will also trace one or more of the submitted drawings into the surface of the moon by following the track of the continuous line. While all the drawings will make the trip on the disc, the ones to be traced by the rover will be selected “by an international jury of distinguished artists, scientists, curators and philosophers,” according to the project website.
The Moon Drawings constitute a joint venture with CMU’s Robotics Institute, which is sending the rover as their entry into the Google Lunar XPrize, a competition that will award $20 million to the first team to get a rover to traverse a certain distance on the moon.