NTU Singapore researchers with the artwork now on the International Space Station

Moon Gallery aboard ISS welcomes artworks from Singapore

Image credit: NTU Singapore

Two Singapore-designed artefacts are now orbiting around the Earth on the International Space Station (ISS), as part of the Moon Gallery.

Researchers successfully launched the two artefacts into space recently as part of a test flight by the Moon Gallery and will come back to Earth after 10 months.

Currently comprising 64 artworks made by artists all around the world, the Moon Gallery will eventually comprise 100 artworks. Astronauts also plan to place this collection on the Moon by 2025.

The new artworks are two metal cubes featuring unique artworks, each measuring 0.98cm all around, designed by Singaporean artist and architect Lakshmi Mohanbabu, who sought to create new artworks using technology and to revolve around concepts of unity, diversity and complexity in humankind.

Both cubes were borne out of a partnership between Lakshmi and scientists from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), supported by the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC), a national programme office that speeds up the adoption and commercialisation of additive manufacturing technologies.

The two Singapore artworks which are in the Moon Gallery

Image credit: NTU Singapore

The first cube (pictured above, left), named ‘Structure & Reflectance’, features four unique faces that are made by changing the crystal orientation of stainless steel during the 3D-printing process. This is a proprietary technique developed by associated professor Matteo Seita and his team from NTU’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the School of Material Sciences and Engineering.

For the second cube, titled ‘The Cube of Interaction’ (pictured above, right), this was prototyped in collaboration with NTU associate professor Daniel New from the Singapore Centre of 3D-printing. Experts printed two iterations of the cube in different materials and identified aluminium as the most suitable material. A local vendor then manufactured the final version via machining.

Researchers successfully launched both cubes on Northrop Grumman’s NG-17 Cygnus spacecraft, also known as the SS Piers Sellers, from Nasa’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia last month.

The astronauts held the artworks in an 8cm x 8cm grid tray, which is a “plug and play” research module provided by US space services company Nanorocks.

Each artwork is smaller than 1cm all around and thus is free to float around freely in space within their cube space. This allows for the experiment to see how the materials and designs will behave in the microgravity of space.

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