Our planet’s Moon is already home to an Andy Warhol doodle, two abandoned golf balls, and a message from the Queen herself. Later this year, it will become the final resting place for hundreds of new items, some of which are arguably even more peculiar.
The MoonArk, a four-chambered, 8-inch-tall snapshot of contemporary culture, will hitch a ride to the moon via the Space X Falcon 9 rocket as one of the privately-funded Moon missions in competition for the Google Lunar Xprize. The structure’s four sections represent the Earth, Metasphere, Moon, and Ether, respectively. Inside will be a collection of diverse pieces of art, including microscopic sculptures, DNA from a genetically modified goat, and a mural of photos an artist texted to his wife over a five-year period. The whole thing will be held together by an aluminum exoskeleton, each facet of which is based on the ratios of the golden triangle. In order to keep fuel costs down, the MoonArk’s four chambers will weigh less than 6 ounces.
Similar artistic time capsules, like the Golden Record aboard the Voyager, have been launched into space in the past—but unlike those capsules, some of which are still traveling, this project is unique in that it will eventually be stationary. According to the MoonArk’s webpage, the sculpture will reside on the Moon’s surface for “potentially billions of years.”
Lowry Burgess, the project's leader and one of its over 200 artists, told NPR he hopes the capsule will eventually be discovered by a species more evolved than our own. Among his contributions to the project is a single drop from a vial containing the blood from 33 different artists, as well as one from a similar mixture of samples from the world’s rivers.
After the MoonArk takes off later this year, space art enthusiasts will still be able to visit a copy exhibited here on Earth.