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A New Moon Rises Over Europe

A massive, floating installation brings our lunar satellite down to earth.

Not the moon in question. (NASA)

People of Europe: If you spot the moon rolling down your street like that boulder from Indiana Jones, don’t panic, it hasn’t fallen out of the sky. It’s probably just the latest sculpture from Luke Jerram, a 23-foot-wide replica of our pockmarked satellite based on meticulous NASA imagery.

Jerram, the Bristol artist behind that popular street waterslide and a severely creepy train-station girl, made his Museum of the Moon as a traveling installation for various festivals and installations. (The latest is the Lakes Alive fest this weekend in Kendal, England.) It floats and glows, so revelers can bask in its lunar light and examine the detail of its surface. And detailed it is, with each 0.4 inches of its girth representing about 3 miles of actual terrain, as recorded in 2010 by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Museum of the Moon is accompanied by a surround-sound score from composer Dan Jones, though the soundtrack will change as it moves around Europe. The artist explains:

“Different cultures around the world have their own historical, cultural and religious relationships to the moon, so depending on where the Museum of The Moon is presented in the world, its meaning and interpretation will shift. As the artwork tours, new compositions will be created and performed by a range of established composers and musicians, so adding to the museum’s collection.

“Like the moon, this artwork acts as a ‘cultural mirror’ that allows us to observe and contemplate cultural differences around the world. As it tours, new stories and meanings will be collected and compared from one presentation to the next.”

Take a look:

About the Author

  • John Metcalfe
    John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.