To celebrate the Rosetta landing, NASA wanted to put a comet on display, but despite its plans to someday tow a comet into orbit, the only way to get one to land on Earth is via a chance collision. It goes without saying that it’s not exactly the best way to keep a specimen intact. As an alternative, they asked StudioKCA, a Brooklyn-based architecture and design firm, to make one.
Commissioned by the World Science Festival, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, and the European Space Agency, the comet commemorates the successful landing of the Rosetta spacecraft on comet 67P in November of 2014. Although the Rosetta spacecraft’s Philae lander blundered into a dark spot on 67P’s surface, preventing its solar panels from working, the mission is widely considered to have been a success.
As such, the number 67 plays a central role in StudioKCA’s design. Crafted out of 67 folded steel plates dimpled through out craters and copper tubing, StudioKCA’s Comet looks like a perfectly intact meteorite just smashed into the skin of the Earth. Over 9 feet tall and twelve feet wide, the effect is amplified by the fact that Comet emanates a steam-like mist, as if the meteor was still molten from plunging through the upper atmosphere. It even glows, thanks to 600 watts of LED lights.
The 1:1000 scale model of Comet 67P’s nucleus has been touring the world. It’s ultimate destination is NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where it will make its final landing in December 2015.