Moon Drawings

Golan Levin (2015–Present)

Moon Drawings is a project to extend the reach of artistic expression to the Moon. Using a tool on the Moon Drawings web site, nearly nine thousand people contributed single-line drawings to an online database: a collection of communications that ranged from whimsical doodles and personal signatures to symbols of hope, solemn wishes and eternal visual forms. Micro-etched onto a sapphire disc, and set into a sculpture called the Moon Arts Ark, these drawings will be shuttled to the Moon aboard a robotic lander/rover in 2019 by our partners at Astrobotic Technology and the CMU Planetary Robotics Lab. If conditions permit, a limited number of these drawings will also be traced by the rover’s wheels into the Moon’s soil. These “gifts for the moon” will remain there for potentially millions of years: a poetic gesture reaching out, far beyond any objective existence on Earth.

Moon Drawings proposes a creative and participatory way of establishing a link between the Earth and Moon, advancing the presence of human culture in space, and realizing new opportunities for art and exploration. In doing so, we hope to reawaken the sense of sublime wonder fundamental to our relationship with the Cosmos, and open a dialogue about our place in the universe.

The Moon Drawings project is an effort of the Moon Arts Group, an initiative at Carnegie Mellon University to extend the reach of artistic expression to the Moon. During the first week of May, 2015, we invited people online to contribute a single-line drawing to this project, using a custom online drawing interface. The resulting collection of nearly nine thousand drawings were micro-etched onto a pair of sapphire discs, alongside other discs and media which comprise the Moon Arts Ark. One disc of drawings will remain on Earth, while the other will be sent to the Moon aboard the Astrobotic/CMU Andy rover. The Earthbound disc will be featured in a traveling exhibition.

We cannot speculate when, if, or by whom the disc on the Moon will be seen again. What we can state with some certainty is that, if the rover completes its journey safely, the disc is expected to remain legible for tens or perhaps thousands of years. Likewise, because there is no lunar weather, the drawings rendered into the Moon’s soil by the rover’s tracks are expected to last millennia; depending on their scale, they may be visible to orbiting telescopes.

The Moon Drawings component of the greater MoonArts Group was supported in part by grant #2014-80 from the Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier. More information and images can be found here.