At 17:40:07 UTC today, a Cygnus spacecraft desginated NG-17 was launched from Wallops island atop an Antares 230+ rocket, destined to rendezvous with the International Space Station. This was by most metrics a typical resupply mission, but one of the items in one of the payload bags is an artwork produced by the Moon Gallery, which itself contains 64 artworks, each 1cm³ in size.
The ultimate goal of the Moon Gallery is to establish the first permanent art gallery on Luna. I think it’s a really cool idea and it raises such interesting philosophical questions about the nature of our relationship with art, and the ways in which humans want to communicate our existence into the cosmos.
I’ve been helping the wonderful people behind the Moon Gallery for a while now, providing advice when I can, so it was a wonderful milestone to see the Antares rocket leave the pad. Even though I didn’t contribute to the gallery which was launched directly – my artistic capabilities being limited to tactical emoji deployment – I am still proud of this success. The team did a fantastic job and in particular, Anna and Elizaveta have been completely unstoppable.
Of course, this trip to the ISS is just a quick pitstop on our way to the moon. In the long term, the project will need a lot more funding and a lot more support to get to the moon. But much like how humanity’s first visits to the moon were prefaced with a number of initial projects aiming at getting used to safely operating on orbit, the Moon Gallery will need to take a few small steps before it permanently leaves its mark on our moon.