You don’t need a retired space shuttle to inspire dreams of flight. Witness artist Spencer Finch, creator of “Lunar,” a solar-powered faux module currently stationed atop the Art Institute of Chicago.

Finch used a colorimeter to measure the color and temperature of the full moon over Chicago in July, then incorporated that data into his creation.

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“I figured there were probably enough literal pictures of the moon, so I began thinking about the form of moonlight and how it is actually reflected sunlight. This led me to explore the use of solar power to generate the light of the moon,” the artist explains.

“The structure of the lunar module and the (geodesic shaped) buckyball followed in short order — I thought it would be fun to imagine that a lunar module returning from the moon with moonlight on board landed on top of the Art Institute.”


“Lunar,” which is located in the museum’s open-air Bluhm Family Terrace, opened on Oct. 8. It will be on display until April 8, 2012.

Image credit: “Lunar” at the Art Institute of Chicago, by night — and day. Credit: (top) Spencer Finch and ESAM/Larry Smallwood © Spencer Finch; (bottom) Irene Klotz, Discovery News.