Mumbai: A 23-foot-wide replica of the Moon — which is half million times smaller than the real celestial body — was unveiled at Gateway of India for public viewing to mark 70 years of the British Council in India, here on Saturday evening.
The replica, using imagery from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera and created with the UK Space Agency, is currently on a tour of India, with a two-day stopover in Mumbai, Saturday and Sunday.
The Museum of the Moon, as its known, has been created by British artist Luke Jerram and is a miniature replica – one cm represents five km of the lunar surface.
It is intended to give audiences a feel of earth’s only satellite, where man first landed successfully on July 20, 1969, and the Museum of the Moon comes a year before the golden jubilee of the historic moon landing accomplished by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin.
Alongside is a unique visual spectacle with music by acclaimed British composer Dan Jones, coinciding with the recent Super Blood Blue Moon and Lunar Eclipse in over 150 years.
“For eons, the moon has impacted society and culture, its been worshipped as a deity, used as a timekeeper, inspired artists, poets, scientists, writers and musicians worldwide,” said Jerram.
He said before gas lamps and electricity, the moon was the only source of light at night, plus it was used for navigation, but living in cities now illuminated heavily by electricity, “we have become disconnected to the moon.”
“I hope this project restores a sense of wonder, inspires questions and reconnects people with the night sky,” Jerram said of the project supported by the Maharashtra Government.
The Museum of the Moon will also be feature space-themed lectures on topics like: Women in Space, Life Beyond Earth: Prospects and Possibilities, Going Back to the Moon and Landing on a Comet, with participation of top British scientists including Prof. Monica Gardy, Professor of Planetary and Space Science, Open University.
Arriving in Mumbai from Bangalore, the Museum of the Moon will move to New Delhi and Kolkata audiences, said a spokesperson for British Council here.