The Lunar Codex: Expanding the Moon’s Art Collection

The second crewed moon landing mission, Apollo 12, had a secret payload attached to one of its lunar lander legs. The payload was a ceramic tile with six artworks etched on it, including one by Andy Warhol. Dubbed the “Moon Museum,” it marked the first time human art landed on the moon. Two years later, NASA sent up a tiny figurine called Fallen Astronaut as a tribute to those who lost their lives in lunar exploration.

Now, Samuel Peralta, a Canadian physicist, artist, and entrepreneur, plans to expand the moon’s art collection even further. Peralta aims to send tens of thousands of works from diverse artists representing nearly every country in the world. The project, called the Lunar Codex, will be split across three launches over the next 18 months.

Peralta initially wanted to send his own works to the moon. He has been a poet since he was young and has published an anthology series called “The Future Chronicles” since 2015. However, during the pandemic, he decided to broaden the selection to offer hope and help during difficult times. He reached out to artists, gallery owners, collectors, and anthropologists to gather works for the Lunar Codex project.

Peralta reserved a spot on three upcoming moon missions operated by private launch service providers SpaceX and United Launch Alliance. These missions aim to deliver lunar landers built by private American companies for scientific experiments and data collection. The earliest mission is scheduled to launch by the end of this year, with two landings near the lunar south pole and one in a lunar plain known as Sinus Viscositatis.

The Lunar Codex will consist of three collections, two of which have been finalized. Peralta aims to make it a global endeavor and has already received works from 157 countries. The collection includes a wide range of art forms, such as photography, wood prints, lithographs, sculptures, and even full books, short stories, and poems. Peralta is self-funding the project, and the collections will be miniaturized in nickel NanoFiche, with content that can’t be stored this way being carried on digital cards.

With the Lunar Codex, Peralta wants to inspire arts and culture on the moon, especially if there are plans to establish a moon colony. By sending works from artists worldwide, he hopes to create a contemporary time capsule that represents the diversity and creativity of humanity.