A Comet Lands in Brooklyn (Rosetta)

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Client: World Science Festival, NASA JPL

Location: Brooklyn, NY, United States

Completion date: 2014

Project Team

Artist

Jason Klimoski

STUDIOKCA

Artist

Lesley Chang

STUDIOKCA

Client

NASA JPL

Client

World Science Festival

Overview

The World Science Festival and NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab asked STUDIOKCA's principals Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang to create an installation to celebrate the “Rosetta Mission”, a mission to land a spacecraft the size of a dishwasher, on a comet the size of central park, nearly 400 million miles away from Earth.

Goals

Inspired by data and images of the comet provided by visual strategists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, Jason and Lesley designed a 1:1000 scale concept of the comet's nucleus and ion tail, just as its cratered surface begins to heat up in the sun, and burst apart.

Process

Jason, Lesley, and team built half of the nucleus out of 67 folded steel plates, blackened and "cratered" using a waterjet cutter, hammers ("cosmic hammers") and torches. They set the metal half into a reflecting pool to create the other half of the nucleus in reflection (some scientists believe comets are mostly ice, and a collision with Earth millenniums ago, is how we came to have water on our planet). They wired the inside with 600 watts of LED's and ran nearly 100 feet of copper tubes and misters to create the comet's ion tail. The light and mist, reflected in the water and pouring out of the steel surface, creates what they imagine the nucleus might look like as it heats up.

Additional Information

The piece measures 9' x 12' x 8', and has a tail of mist and water 53' long. Jason and Lesley's version of the comet first landed at New York City's Brooklyn Bridge Park and has been traveling to different sites all over the country for the last year.