I like to think that the moon is there even if I am not looking at it. Albert Einstein
Man has long been fascinated with the moon, particularly the phases of the moon. The moon also has a mysterious side. Have you ever wondered what the far side of the moon actually looks like? Now you have a chance to own a live moon for closer observation. MOON is an interactive LED Lunar light that combines a topographically precise moon and perfectly synced lunar phases for a distinctive, ever-changing ambient light to sit on a desk or shelf. And, let’s not forget a chance to watch finally the sun rise over the far side of the moon.
The story of MOON
Designer Oscar Lhermitte’s had his own lunar obsessions. He began his MOON mission by spending countless hours studying NASA’s high-resolution moon photos at the Institute of Planetary Research.
After painstakingly converting the 2D images into 3D designs, he created a printable file of conception. Next, Lhermitte went to work to render a real-life mold of the moon, complete with NASA topographical details. So devoted to the precision of the design, he even took a job in a molding plant to learn the craft to perfection.
Thinking that the moon was nothing without the sun to illuminate its unique landscape, he brought in design engineers Peter Krige and Alex Du Preez of Kudu to work on the electronic side of things. First, they developed an LED ring that was the exact size of the globe to generate sunlight. Next, the Kudu team created a motion computer that would precisely control sun and moon positions, synced to real-time lunar phases. The result of this 3-man mission is MOON LED Lunar Light.
MOON Lunar Phases LED Light Features
Each MOON is roto-casted from hard polyurethane resin and individually numbered in the London studios. The globe is a precise 1/20 million replica, a topographically precise model that includes all the craters, elevations, and ridges of the moon.
The sun, represented by a ring of LED lights attached to the center pole, illuminates the accurate side of the moon to recreate the lunar phases as seen from Earth.
Made of solid steel with a black powder-coated finish, the base houses a computer with 64KB memory capacity. An algorithm that knows the different phases of the moon for the next 100 years controls the computer.
A battery inside the computer keeps pace with lunar phases, even if the machine is unplugged. Turn the MOON on a year later and the feedback system will know exactly where it should be!
How the MOON LED Lunar Light Operates
The top switch on the base lets you rotate the sunlight manually. Use the screen printed graphics on the top of the base to set the lunar phase to Full Moon, First Quarter or whatever phase you want to observe.
One push of the top button sets the Sun and Moon in precise motion, giving you a complete demonstration of the synodic lunar month in just 30 seconds.
Turn the bottom switch to the right and you’ll experience actual lunar phases in real-time, throughout the month. Even on a cloudy day you’ll be able to observe the globe exactly how it looks in the sky. A full rotation takes just over 29 days.
To get the most of the MOON topographically precise LED Light and observe a complete 360° rotation, you’ll need a desk or table surface area of 550 mm x 550 mm (21.6 inches).
Oscar Lhermitte’s dream for MOON is to create a larger form as an interactive exhibition in a museum. In the meantime, the smaller models are ideal for anyone who likes to study the faces of the moon.
Price and Timeline
The official MOON launch date was April 13, 2016. After a successful Kickstarter campaign that ended in May, the team plans on finalizing testing of electronics and prototyping through to September, when manufacturing and shipping will begin. The retail price will be about £700 (~$1000). It will be available at Apollo Box in January 2017. If you are interested in purchasing MOON, please register with us now by sending your name and email to email@example.com to enjoy a special discount. To learn more about MOON, please check out oscarlhermitte.com/work/18.
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