Frequently Asked Questions


What's the basic idea?

• You contribute a drawing using our online tool.
• Your drawing will be micro-etched onto a sapphire disc.
• The disc will be brought to the Moon aboard a robotic lunar rover!
• And—if all goes well—a few drawings will be selected by a distinguished jury, and traced onto the Moon's surface by the tracks of the rover.


Is this for real?

Yes. Moon Drawings is one of several projects by the Moon Arts Group, an initiative at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh. We're sending art to the Moon aboard the Andy Rover being developed by CMU's Planetary Robotics Team and Astrobotic Technology, a spin-off of CMU's Robotics Institute. Find out more about our team and partners here.


Are your technical partners really able to get a rover to the Moon?

If anyone can do it, they can. Our amazing technical partners, Astrobotic/CMU, are one of 16 teams currently competing for the Google Lunar XPrize (GLXP), an international competition which will award more than $20 million to non-governmental organizations that complete a robotic mission to the Moon by the end of 2016. The CMU Robotics Institute is recognized as a world leader in mobile, field and planetary robotics, and Astrobotic/CMU is the only GLXP team to win Milestone prizes in all of Google's competition categories thus far. Indeed, our partners' consortium has already won $1.75 million from Google in support of their plans, nearly ensuring the viability of their quest. Of course, it's a monumental technical challenge to soft-land a rover on the Moon—even NASA hasn't done so in more than 40 years. So there are big risks, but we're confident. In the event that our project doesn't make it safely to the Moon, we will still share and exhibit the collection of drawings collected here.


Why are you doing this?

Our project proposes a creative and participatory way of establishing a link between the Earth and Moon, advancing the presence of human culture in space, and realizing new opportunities for art and exploration. In doing so, we hope to reawaken the sense of sublime wonder fundamental to our relationship with the Cosmos, and open a dialogue about our place in the universe.


How and where will the drawings reside, and who can see them?

The Moon Drawings collection will be micro-etched onto a pair of sapphire discs, alongside other discs which comprise the Moon Arts Ark. One disc will remain on Earth, while the other is sent to the Moon aboard the Astrobotic/CMU Andy rover. The Earthbound disc will be featured in a traveling exhibition. We cannot speculate when, if, or by whom the disc on the Moon will be seen again. What we can state with some certainty is that, if the rover completes its journey safely, the disc is expected to remain legible for tens of thousands of years. Likewise, because there is no lunar weather, the drawings rendered into the Moon's soil by the rover's tracks are expected to last millennia; depending on their scale, they may be visible through orbiting telescopes. Finally, the entire collection of drawings will be accessible on this website, in common open-data formats, with a generous public domain license (CC0). More information about the Moon Arts Ark is available here.


When will the project be sent to the Moon?

The Moon Drawings disc will be shuttled to the Moon from Cape Kennedy in 2016 on an Astrobotic Robotic Lunar mission aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. For more information, we kindly refer you to the FAQ and blog for the Andy rover, maintained by the CMU Planetary Robotics Team, which addresses questions such as launch timing, predicted landing location, and other details about the journey to the Moon.


Why can I only make a single line?

In the interest of ensuring the widest possible participation, we limit contributions to one drawing per computer (IP address). If our technical partners achieve all of their goals, we intend to trace a small number of these drawings (selected by a jury of distinguished artists, scientists and philosophers) onto the surface of the Moon using the track that the Andy Rover leaves behind. For this reason, each drawing must be formed from a single, unbroken line.


Are there any content restrictions on the contributed drawings?

Just the ones you'd (hopefully) expect. Your drawing is a public message which, etched in sapphire and placed on the Moon, is likely to endure for thousands of years. It will also be available online in a freely downloadable collection, which we intend to be suitable for all audiences and all ages. We therefore hope you'll abide by reasonable standards of good taste. While our intention is to faithfully transmit your thoughtful self-expression, we do reserve the right to decline offensive drawings or messages, and we definitely won't accept hateful symbols or messages. And, incidentally — in case you think you're the first person to send a drawing of genitals to the Moon — Andy Warhol already beat you to it. A tiny ceramic wafer known as the Moon Museum, which includes such a sketch by Warhol along with artworks by other prominent artists, is believed to have been stowed onto the Apollo 12 lunar module in 1969.


How will you respect the Moon?

There is global concern for the Moon as a site of human activity and exploitation, and we share these concerns. For this reason, the Moon Arts Group, in all its aspects, including our Moon Drawings project, seeks to comply with all existing Space Law and related policies and conventions that have been promulgated by the United Nations, whether or not they have been ratified by the United States. We will also abide by all provisions of the UN policies concerned specifically with the Moon.


How else can I contribute?

Thank you for asking! You can make a tax-deductible donation to support our work, here. You can also help by spreading the word about our project! This web site is www.moondrawings.org and our Twitter handle is @moon_drawings.


My question's not addressed here!

We'd love to help. Please feel free to get in touch with us via email at contact@moondrawings.org or (on Twitter) @moon_drawings.