An epochal artifact designed to communicate forward across time and space

In 2023, Carnegie Mellon University is sending the first museum to the Moon aboard an Astrobotic lander. Our project, called “The MoonArk,” is a gift of life and hope to future humans embodied by all the arts, enlarging the lunar mission to ponder how the Moon stirs the tides, the growth patterns of life, the rhythms of society, and how the Moon always continues to pull us further into the heavens.

The MoonArk is a highly collaborative and massively integrated sculpture that poetically sparks wonderment through the integration of the arts, humanities, sciences, and technologies. Comprised of four independent 2”h x 2”dia chambers and weighing a combined total of 10 ounces, it contains hundreds of images, poems, music, nano-objects, mechanisms, and earthly samples intertwined through complex narratives that blur the boundaries between worlds seen and unseen. It is designed to direct our attention from the Earth outward, into the cosmos and beyond and reflect back to Earth as an endless dialogue that speaks to our context within the universe. Impossibly small, broadly diverse, hyper-light, yet incredibly enduring, the MoonArk is designed and engineered to last thousands of years to project humanity in a most beautiful and highly significant way.

Beginning in 2008, the MoonArk project is presently touring and waiting for launch, having successfully passed space-readiness thermal and vacuum testing. Fabrication of the MoonArk has instigated original innovation and invention of digital fabrication techniques, ultra-high resolution imaging and many innovations in material science, technology, and the arts, engaging colleagues across the world in inspiring ways. The project involves 18 universities and organizations, 60 team members, and over 250 contributing artists, designers, educators, scientists, engineers, choreographers, poets, writers and musicians.

There are two identical MoonArks, twins in every respect, one headed to the Moon, and one to remain here on Earth. In April 2022, after an extensive tour traveling internationally for exhibitions, festivals, and special presentations – aiming to engage people in ways to spark dialog and conversation – the twin MoonArk that will remain here on Earth was accessioned into the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

For up to date project information please see our twitter page: www.twitter.com/CMU_MoonArk

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