We are a group of scientists and artists working with NASA and other space-interested organizations. We are bouncing artwork off the Moon on May 1st at 3 PM CT (20:00 UTC). The fact that we will “touch” the moon with art seems like a great reason to have an AMA and a Hangout to talk about the significance of the artwork and the performance and to explore the impact of the past, present, and future human presence on the Moon.

The artwork is from the Humans in Space Youth Art Competition ( and the Visual Moonbounce will be performed by OPTICKS in collaboration with CAMRAS/Dwingeloo radio telescope (

Here is our proof:

Ask us about the artwork and how to bounce it off the Moon, Moon exploration, or anything else you can think of! We'll start answering at 11:00 am CT (16:00 UTC)

Please also join us at 3 PM CT (20:00 UTC) for the live Google Hangout ( where we will perform the Visual Moonbounce and have additional discussion with world-renowned authors, artists and NASA scientists.

Our Ask Us Anything team of Scientists and Artists is: Dr. Stan Love, Planetary Scientist and Astronaut Dr. Dan Durda, Astronomer and Artist Dr. Jancy McPhee, Neuroscientist and Director Humans in Space Art Ms. Daniela De Paulis, Artist, Researcher, and Lead OPTICKS Dr. Georgiana Kramer, Planetary Geologist at Lunar & Planetary Institute Dr. Yann Sonzogni, Postdoctoral Fellow at Lunar & Planetary Institute

[EDIT at 2:30 ET (18:30 UTC)] Thanks everyone for participating! It was great fun! Please come join us for the Artwork Moonbounce at 4 PM ET (20:00 UTC). (

Comments: 104 • Responses: 39  • Date: 

Atariwarrior5 karma

What if the moon were made of barbecue spare ribs, would you eat it then?

Also, in what way are you transmitting the data?

HumansInSpace_Art10 karma

The artwork gets encoded into a radio signal that gets transmitted from the Dwingeloo (yes, that's its real name) radio telescope in the Netherlands. The same antenna receives the signal as it returns from the Moon. It takes radio waves about 2.5 seconds to travel to the Moon and back.

If the Moon were made of barbecue spareribs, it would not be very appetizing, I'm afraid. After 2 weeks in a hot oven followed by 2 weeks in the freezer, alternating for 4.5 billion years in a vacuum, they'd be kind of dried out.

derekfor_real4 karma

Will there ever be a plan for a mission to put a man on mars?

HumansInSpace_Art9 karma

Yes, NASA now has plans to put people (not just men) on Mars. Unfortunately we can only afford to take small steps in the foreseeable future. We're building a new crew capsule that can handle Earth re-entry speeds coming back from Mars. We're building a new heavy-lift rocket that can be used to assemble a Mars ship, which will weigh a hundred tons or more, in space. We're planning human missions to lunar orbit and possibly to a captured asteroid in the next ten years or so. But an Apollo-like campaign to Mars won't happen without Apollo-like budgets! During the Apollo program, NASA's budget had ten times the buying power it does today.

There are also some private organizations (such as SpaceX and Mars One) that are looking at putting people on Mars. --Stan

derekfor_real2 karma

Thanks for that response! I can't wait to see what comes of this in the future!

HumansInSpace_Art4 karma

You are welcome and thank YOU for your interest! --Jancy

bweg23 karma

will china get to the moon before we (USA) go back?

HumansInSpace_Art3 karma

China has already landed a rover on the Moon--the first lunar lander in 40 years--December 2013. China is keeping on their schedule to return humans to the Moon.

HumansInSpace_Art3 karma

Nobody knows whether China will get to the Moon (with people, I presume, since they've already landed robots there!) before the US returns. I have heard that China has definite plans to send people to the Moon. The US does not currently have firm plans to return people to the Moon.

But the future is long, and nobody knows what will happen!--Stan

bweg22 karma

when are they planning on landing humans on the moon?

HumansInSpace_Art3 karma

I believe they intend to land people on the Moon in 2025. --George

pankaj10103 karma

I saw an article where you talk about sending image and receiving radio signal back from moon. I want to know why you trying to achieve by this.

[deleted]1 karma


HumansInSpace_Art4 karma

we convert images into sounds then into radio waves art is not about achieving something but about enriching our imagination --Daniela

pankaj10101 karma

Can you explain how it enriched our imaginations. In what way

HumansInSpace_Art3 karma

This project is the further development from other art projects where the Moonbounce technology was used for sound experiments. In this Visual Art Moonbounce performance, we visualize the journey to the moon and back, and we use visual data as opposed to only sound. The project has been used multiple times and is well-known in the art community. --Daniela

Dogion2 karma

When are you going to invent the warp drive?

HumansInSpace_Art2 karma

There are a few small groups working on warp drive, but the laws of physics would have to have some pretty speculative revisions made to them in order for such a thing to function. Warp drive may well be impossible. But we're checking carefully to make sure we don't miss any possibilities! --Stan

pastpa2 karma

If the signal takes 2.5 seconds round trip, won't the earth have rotated the receiver out of alignment?

HumansInSpace_Art4 karma

No. The Earth does not rotate very far in 2.5 seconds and the dish will still be pointed close enough in the right direction and has a wide cone-like collection area.

pastpa3 karma

Cone-like collection area? I don't understand.

HumansInSpace_Art4 karma

The collecting dish is shaped like a salad bowl.--Jancy

Stoooooooo2 karma

What would you like to see in the near (or far) future in terms of exploration of the moon?

HumansInSpace_Art6 karma

For human exploration of the Moon, the United States feels as though it's already accomplished its main goal. But every other spacefaring nation is interested in sending people when possible. By then, the US may have changed its policy.

Humans could do a lot of interesting science on the surface of the Moon, which is essentially a small planet. There's plenty of geology to do there, and also prospecting for resources like water, iron, and titanium.--Stan

HumansInSpace_Art5 karma

The Moon is the only logical place to prepare for human exploration of Mars, the solar system, and beyond. In addition, the Moon has minable resources that are useful for us on Earth and to facilitate solar system exploration.--Georgiana

HumansInSpace_Art2 karma

From a purely planetary science perspective the Moon is an absolutely fascinating world. I want to see us get back on the surface with human field geologists who can get rock samples from a range of big craters to help nail down the chronology of early impacts on the Moon. It turns out that the Moon is the best place to go in the Solar System to constrain the timing of the early orbital evolution of the outer planets. As Jupiter and Saturn and Uranus and Neptune worked out their final orbital arrangements several hundred million years after the Solar System formed they shoved around a lot of comets and asteroids. Those wandering small bodies impacted many bodies in the inner Solar System, the Earth and Moon included. Because the Moon's airless and otherwise comparatively geologically inactive surface still records the impacts from that ancient era, it's the best natural laboratory we have for clues to how the planets were moving around back then. And that's just ONE of the many cool things we can do there to answer some really fundamental questions about how our own home world has evolved! --Dan

pankaj10102 karma

If I imagine the future it's seems like people will be moving to mars. start to live there. Do you people have same imagination and is it possible to survive and and make it lively.

HumansInSpace_Art3 karma

What do you mean "you people"? Lunatics (people who love and explore the Moon)? We absolutely have the same imagination. In fact, the "martians" (people who love and explore the Mars) probably stole it from us! The Moon is the logical first place to prepare for human exploration of Mars, the solar system, and beyond.--George

pankaj10102 karma

It's always risky to move people into space and even more risky to bring them back. Do NASA have anything to reduce the risk or anything that they have learned from past experiences regarding moving them to space and bringing them back

HumansInSpace_Art3 karma

You hit it exactly - learning from past experiences. We're learning a LOT about how the human body reacts to extended stays in zero-g from our International Space Station expeditions. That experience is teaching about how to build complex structures in a harsh environment and keep the bits and pieces actually working (or if they don't work why and how to make them better). Little things like how not to let your crew mate drive you crazy during a long mission :-). We're still going to have to learn how to deal with radiation hazards during a long mission to --Dan

HumansInSpace_Art1 karma

NASA is always paying attention to how its spacecraft perform on launch, in space, and during atmospheric entry, and looking for ways to improve them in the future. Just as airplanes were once terribly dangerous but now the safest way to travel, spacecraft are getting safer with every new generation. But progress is slow. Airplanes have flown many billions of times, and all that experience has allowed us to figure out how to make them safe. Only about 5,000 rockets, manned and unmanned, have every left Earth in all of history. With so little flight experience, there are many dangers left that we have not yet learned about.--Stan

pankaj10101 karma

Thanks for your reply. What is the most craziest stuff NASA is going to work on or already working on ,according to you.

HumansInSpace_Art1 karma

Assuming by "craziest" you mean coolest, my answer would be the warp drive. --George

bzdu2 karma

In terms of space exploration, what can we expect for the next fifty years, and who by?

HumansInSpace_Art3 karma

Wow, you win for the most difficult question! In the near term I think we'll see an increasing commercial presence in low-Earth orbit - more private companies launching NASA astronauts to the International Space Station and adventure tourists flying to inflatable space hotels. I'd love to see robotic missions back to the surface of Venus, to bore under Europa's surface ice into the ocean below, maybe a Uranus or Neptune orbiter mission. We're going to see human missions to Mars by fifty years from now, one way or another - we just have to! Whether it's NASA that takes us there (maybe/hopefully along with our international partners) or Elon Musk, it's going to happen eventually. NASA's Kepler mission sparked our imagination, showing us that we really do live in a galaxy jam-packed with amazing other worlds; by fifty years from now I'll bet we'll have images of other Earths around nearby stars. Pandora here we come! --Dan

BlueSoup102 karma

Do you think this project will affect some ideals of the artistic communities as well as the astronomical ones?

HumansInSpace_Art5 karma

I would hope it would! I live in both worlds, working as both a planetary scientist and as a space artist. I'd like to see this project maybe get more artists to think about space as a venue for new types of artwork. What could you do with a 3D printer in zero-g? What kind of fairy castle sculptures might be constructed there that couldn't possibly be made here on Earth? Here on Earth we use landscape format for many scenic illustrations - we live glued to the surface of the planet and deal with scenes that have an up and a down. Will someone who grows up in zero-g use a circular frame for their artwork? Space can let our imaginations soar! --Dan

cleverpseudoname2 karma

How did you come up with this moonbouncing idea?

HumansInSpace_Art2 karma

We like to think of new and interesting ways to make the Youth Artwork about the Future of Space Exploration visible—potentially anywhere in the world and in space! When I met Daniela De Paulis, who had worked out how to do a Visual Moonbounce, we both knew that bouncing the youth artwork off the Moon would be a great performance idea.--Jancy

cleverpseudoname2 karma

Cool beans! Thanks for responding and thanks for doing such a neat and interesting thing. The arts and sciences were meant to be together ^_^

HumansInSpace_Art2 karma

We agree! Thank you. --Jancy

Akhione2 karma

How would you feel if an alien race detected the transmission and was able to decode the artwork? Personally I think that would be a pretty cool first contact.

HumansInSpace_Art3 karma

Yes, it would be pretty cool if aliens detected the art transmission signal...but we've sent loads of signals out into space with much more power, so it's unfortunately much more likely that the aliens would first detect our military radar or Gilligan's Island.--Stan

HumansInSpace_Art1 karma

I think it would be great indeed !!! However, I do not want to discourage you, but by the time we are sending signals to space, aliens would have already responded to us if they had the technology to do so.--Yann

hellocatfood2 karma

How is colour being projected/bounced onto the moon?

HumansInSpace_Art3 karma

Colours are turned into sounds, then into radio waves. The radio waves are transmitted to the Moon, hit its surface and are reflected and refracted in all directions. Only a small percentage comes back to Earth and is received by our radio telescope in the Netherlands.--Daniela

plom6152 karma

How do you determine how far away a celestial body is?

I mean, we know approximately how far away other stars and galaxies are. How did humans figure it out (relatively) accurately?

Sorry if this was asked already.. and thanks!

HumansInSpace_Art5 karma

Figuring out the distances to astronomical objects is a huge part of astronomy. There are many methods, each suited to a different distance range. The whole set is called the "cosmological distance ladder."

For things in the inner Solar System, we can bounce radar off the planets and measure their distance from the time it takes the radio signal to go and return.

For the outer planets, we can observe how the planets move. When we've watched them travel around the sun for a while, we can plot their orbit size and use the law of gravitation to calculate how far from the sun they are.

For nearby stars, we can watch the stars shift their positions as the Earth goes around the sun. This "parallax" shift is very small, but once measured we can use that shift the same way your two eyes triangulate on objects to determine how far away they are.

For faraway stars in our Galaxy and in nearby other galaxies, we can find stars that are twins of nearby ones whose distance we can find by parallax. By seeing how much fainter the distant star is than its nearby twin, we can calculate how much further away it is.

For galaxies at moderate distances, we watch for Type 1 supernovas, which are exploding stars that take a few weeks to brighten and fade. They always reach the same peak level of energy output. By measuring how bright they appear to us, and by knowing how much energy they are putting out, we can calculate the distance.

For distant galaxies, we can measure how fast the galaxy recedes from us because of the expansion of the universe. The speed is related to the distance by a simple multiplication factor.


random_people1 karma

Do you think we will inhabit the moon or mars first? What benefits can we get from doing one or the other first?

HumansInSpace_Art1 karma

My guess is that it'll be the Moon first. I love Mars too, but the Moon is right next door and presents us with a perfect outpost to learn all the hard things we'll need to know for going all the way to Mars. --Dan

HumansInSpace_Art1 karma

I think we should inhabit the Moon before Mars so that we can learn how equipment (and man) works in Space before sending this equipment (and man!0 to longer distances. Also, the Moon would be an intermediate base to help us prepare for our trip to Mars, and we could extract resources (water, ores) necessary for the trip to Mars ---Yann

necrotica1 karma

What is NASA's thoughts on The Singularity?

HumansInSpace_Art1 karma

NASA does not have an official statement about The Singularity that I know of. I can tell you, personally, that my robotocist spouse has got me believing it's our next evolutionary step. --George

necrotica1 karma

Cyborg, Genetic Engineering or combination of the two... which would your preference be?

HumansInSpace_Art1 karma

Man, that's a good question. I keep typing an answer and changing my mind. I think I would go for cyborg. Genetic engineering can only take us so far, being governed by the whole mortality thing. I mean, even if we could stop the aging process, cancer, and etc., we could still be killed by a stab wound or removal of one's head. Also, at this point, since I'm already born and can't be genetically engineered any more, I would rather have my consciousness placed in a cyborg and keep living with my current memories and such.--George

engti1 karma

any particular favourites you are projecting? how about "starry nights"? :)

also, love that you are doing this.

HumansInSpace_Art1 karma

We love starry nights too, but we are bouncing student art today. Kudos to these young artists!--Jancy

necrotica1 karma

What is the main purpose of doing this? Does this have any real scientific purpose that helps in space exploration?

HumansInSpace_Art1 karma

We do that because it is cool !!!! And...We are doing this to raise public awareness and to get everyone excited about space science and technology and what the exploration of space means to humanity.

HumansInSpace_Art1 karma

If you can’t already tell, we love the Moon! If you need more reasons why you should love the Moon, check out this video:


How come we're still using the same technology from the 70s for space shuttles?

HumansInSpace_Art2 karma

The space shuttles have been retired, so we're no longer flying 1970s technology. The Space Station has 1980s technology, and the Russian Soyuz uses 1960s technology.

The technology used for human spaceflight is rarely the most new and flashy. New means unproven, unproven means dangerous. Also, new technology costs huge amounts of money to develop and test. NASA's budget simply cannot cover much new technology development.

Xenocide3211 karma

What kind of data loss do you deal with transmitting over such a large distance? What exactly are you expecting to get back here to earth?

It looks like a lot of you are Planetary Scientists, what does your job entail? Does the idea of asteroid mining excite you?

What are your favorite types of ice cream?

HumansInSpace_Art1 karma

1 for sure is Blue Moon (no kidding!), but it seems to be a Michigan thing and I can't get it here in Colorado. (If I can't find Blue Moon I'll take Bubble Gum or Mint Chocolate Chip!) --Dan

HumansInSpace_Art2 karma

  1. The Moon is a rough surface, so the signal gets bounced around a bit before coming back at us. Also some signal is lost going through the Earth's atmosphere, coming back, and getting shot past the Moon. You should check out Daniela De Paulis' webpage about Optiks ( to see what we expect to get back. Also, I will be making an image of the difference between the sent and returned signal soon after they return.

  2. I'm a Planetary Scientist. My job entails sitting in front of my computer, looking at images of planetary surfaces, and thinking. It's a lot more fun than it sounds. But lots of other planetary scientists do much more exciting things than I. I used to take rocks that were sampled by the Apollo astronauts, dissolve them in acid, and run them through a really expensive instrument that measures the trace elements in them.

  3. Blue Bell Cookies and Cream --George

HumansInSpace_Art1 karma

Of course the distance to the Moon means that the signal gets very weak before it gets there, and weakens even more on the long flight back to Earth. This means that the signal is very faint when it returns and causes some loss of data, but some of the original signal is still detectable.--Stan

Mabus1571 karma

Is faster then light travel even theoretically possible, I.e. Warp travel or wormholes

HumansInSpace_Art1 karma

There is an answer to this from a previous question. Here's the link in the answer: --Stan

I sure hope this whole "speed limit to the universe" can be broken!