Nevada helps launch one-of-a-kind art into space; Will be seen from earth

Courtesy: Nevada Museum of Art

Look to the sky later this month, and you'll see something nobody has ever seen before.

Artist Trevor Paglen plans to launch a unique piece of art into space for everyone back on Earth to see. It's called the Orbital Reflector.

"I'm going to create a reason for you to look up to the sky and to think about what you are looking at," Paglen said.

In mid-November, a satellite -- carried by a Space X Falcon 9 Rocket -- will release the art into lower Earth's orbit.

"When it goes up into space, it shoots out the side of a rocket and that brick shape opens up. Inside is a giant reflective balloon. That balloon inflates the shape of a giant diamond," Paglen said.

The silver 100-foot-long art is made from a lightweight material similar to a Mylar balloon. It will reflect sunlight back to earth and will appear as a point on the sky. The Orbital Reflector will circle 350 miles above earth and be visible with the naked eye.

The rocket will launch from southern California but it has a Nevada connection. The Nevada Museum of Art co-produced and presented the Orbital Reflector.

"Nevada's been home to atomic testing, military installations, large scale mining operations, and even experimental communities like Burning Man, so it really comes as no surprise that Trevor Paglen would approach the Nevada Museum of Art for a project of this scale that involves such great risk," said Andrea M. Wolfe, the Andrea and John C. Deane Family Senior Curator and Deputy Director.

The Orbital Reflector cost $1.3 million -- all paid for by donations raised by the Nevada Museum of Art. It's expected to remain in space for about three months before it burns up upon re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.

Trevor Paglen hopes people will look to the sky with a renewed sense of wonder.

"The thing I hope people take away from the project is a sense that things don't have to be how they are," he said.

Blockchains, LLC is the title sponsor.

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