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Moon landing: The moon comes to Cardiff in a fusion of art and science

The moon, seen behind a Christmas tree.

 A large-scale model of the moon is visiting Cardiff until early January, accompanied by virtual reality experiences and music.

A model of the moon in Wales Millennium Centre
The moon model is suspended above visitors, as it would be in the night sky.

Until January, you won’t have to be an astronaut to see the moon: it’s right on your doorstep.

The ‘Museum of the Moon’, an art exhibition by Bristol-based artist Luke Jerram, is currently on show in Wales Millennium Centre.

The model is seven metres wide and features detailed imagery of the lunar surface from NASA. Each centimetre represents 5km of the moon’s surface, with an approximate scale of 1:500,000.

Rachel Evans, who visited the artwork with a group of friends, said, “It’s such a beautiful piece of art. It really takes your breath away, especially at night when it’s lit up and you can hear the music alongside it.”

The moon model being displayed in Ely Cathedral.
The Museum of the Moon exhibited in Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire, as part of the ‘Sky’s the Limit’ science festival, held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landings. Photo: James Billings.

Artist Luke Jerram found inspiration for the artwork as he cycled to work over the river, observing its great tidal range. The River Avon has the highest tidal range in Europe, with a 13-metre difference between high and low tide.

“I was reminded that the gravitational pull of the moon is making this happen”, he said. “As a child, I wanted a telescope so I could study the moon and the night sky. Now, with my own moon, I can fly there, study every detail and share this with the public.”

Luke Jerram, pictured in front of his artwork. According to Jerram, the art, alongside its accompanying music, is interpreted differently by different people and in each venue it visits. Photo: Luke Jerram.

As well as accompanying music by composer Dan Jones, there are also virtual reality experiences for visitors, including virtual tours of space, a Star Wars experience, and a tour of local musical culture.

The model is a collaboration of technological innovation, science and art, but it also has the power to bring those who view it together.

“Throughout history, the moon has inspired artists, poets, scientists, writers and musicians the world over,” Jerram explains. “In the exhibition in Marseille, couples grouped deckchairs into pairs and held hands underneath the moon.

“The artwork can be enjoyed as much by a child as by a professional astronomer.”

The moon, seen in the background from the cafe.
Visitors to the centre can enjoy a coffee by the side of the moon.

The model is free to visit and can be found near the café on the ground floor of the center. More information is available here.

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