Trevor Paglen, Kickstarter
Trevor Paglen, Kickstarter

Artist Plans to Launch a Giant Sculpture Into Orbit

Trevor Paglen, Kickstarter
Trevor Paglen, Kickstarter

Fans of Trevor Paglen’s artwork won’t be able to find his newest upcoming piece in a museum. But if they’re in the right part of the world, they’ll be able to see it by stepping outside in 2018 and looking up at the night sky. That’s because Orbital Reflector, a 100-foot-tall collaboration with the Nevada Museum of Art, will spend its two-month exhibition period in space, Motherboard reports.

Unlike other satellites circling our planet, Orbital Reflector will serve “no commercial, military, or scientific purpose,” according to the project's Kickstarter. Instead, the massive, self-inflating sculpture will be solely intended to catch the eye of those viewing it from Earth. Made from a brilliant, metallic material, the balloon-like satellite will be shaped like an elongated diamond. At night, it will reflect the sun, making it visible to the naked eye for viewers on Earth.

The ambitious artwork is scheduled to hitch a ride on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in April 2018. After being deployed about 350 miles above Earth's surface, it will spend around two months in space before gradually falling back toward the ground and burning up in the atmosphere. Paglen claims this will be the first satellite to enter Earth's orbit for strictly aesthetic purposes.

In the past, manmade art has been sent into space with the hope that it would be seen by future generations or by extraterrestrials. But this time, the Earth's current inhabitants are the intended audience.

Paglen's Kickstarter campaign—which will help fund the sculpture’s construction and its delivery to space—is almost over. Take a peek at what the work will look like in the video below.

[h/t Motherboard]

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Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images
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Space
Stephen Hawking’s Memorial Will Beam His Words Toward the Nearest Black Hole
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

An upcoming memorial for Stephen Hawking is going to be out of this world. The late physicist’s words, set to music, will be broadcast by satellite toward the nearest black hole during a June 15 service in the UK, the BBC reports.

During his lifetime, Hawking signed up to travel to space on Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceship, but he died before he ever got the chance. (He passed away in March.) Hawking’s daughter Lucy told the BBC that the memorial's musical tribute is a “beautiful and symbolic gesture that creates a link between our father's presence on this planet, his wish to go into space, and his explorations of the universe in his mind.” She described it as "a message of peace and hope, about unity and the need for us to live together in harmony on this planet."

Titled “The Stephen Hawking Tribute,” the music was written by Greek composer Vangelis, who created the scores for Blade Runner and Chariots of Fire. It will play while Hawking’s ashes are interred at Westminster Abbey, near where Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin are buried, according to Cambridge News. After the service, the piece will be beamed into space from the European Space Agency’s Cebreros Station in Spain. The target is a black hole called 1A 0620-00, “which lives in a binary system with a fairly ordinary orange dwarf star,” according to Lucy Hawking.

Hawking wasn't the first person to predict the existence of black holes (Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity accounted for them back in the early 1900s), but he spoke at length about them throughout his career and devised mathematical theorems that gave credence to their existence in the universe.

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch, a friend of the Hawking family who portrayed the late scientist in the BBC film Hawking, will speak at the service. In addition to Hawking's close friends and family, British astronaut Tim Peake and several local students with disabilities have also been invited to attend.

[h/t BBC]

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IKEA
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Design
IKEA's New Collection for Tiny Apartments Is Inspired by Life on Mars
IKEA
IKEA

Living in a city apartment can feel claustrophobic at times. As Co.Design reports, the Swedish furniture brand IKEA took this experience to the extreme when designers visited a simulated Mars habitat as research for their latest line of housewares aimed at urbanites.

The new collection, called Rumtid, is tailored to fit the cramped spaces that many people are forced to settle for when apartment-hunting in dense, expensive cities. The designers knew they wanted to prioritize efficiency and functionality with their new project, and Mars research provided the perfect inspiration.

At NASA's Mars Desert Research Station in Utah, scientists are figuring out how to meet the needs of potential Mars astronauts with very limited resources. Materials have to be light, so that they require as little rocket fuel as possible to ferry them to the red planet, and should ideally run on renewable energy.

IKEA's designers aren't facing quite as many challenges, but spending a few days at the simulated Martian habitat in Utah got them thinking on the right track. The team also conducted additional research at the famously snug capsule hotels in Tokyo. The Rumtid products they came up with include an indoor terrarium shaped like a space-age rocket, a set of colorful, compact air purifiers, and light-weight joints and bars that can be snapped into modular furniture.

The collection isn't ready to hit IKEA shelves just yet—the chain plans to make Rumtid available for customers by 2020. In the meantime, the designers hope to experiment with additional science fiction-worthy ideas, including curtains that clean the air around them.

Air purifiers designed for urban living.

Furniture joints on bubble wrap on black table.

Modular furniture holding water bag.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of IKEA.

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