To make LED light art in space you’ll need a handful of LEDs, power source, camera and, well, a rocket. The rocket isn’t for the art per se, but rather for exiting the earth’s gravitational pull and getting to space. That’s where JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata has a unique advantage over the bulk of us 7.046 billion or so terra-sapiens.
The experiments date back to 2009, when he first used the device called “Spiral Top,” developed in collaboration with light artist Dr. Takura Osaka, rendered below:
Astronaut Mouri introduced an interesting phenomena of a pair of pliers, that rotates constantly in circle motion for a while and suddenly, turns upside down. By placing LEDs on four arms of an object and by producing spiral motions due to the reversal phenomena (Fig. 1), the light trace of the LEDs becomes a light art. We simulated this phenomena using our numerical code, and helped to decide the appropriate shape and mass distribution.
He goes on to say,
The “Spiral Top” has four arms with LED lights blinking intermittently, and performs various reversal motions by changing the mass on each arm. It draws concentric circle and multi-spiral light trace in space. It became the world’s first light art in space.
The results are, in one word, incredible:
And during his current stay aboard the ISS he’s taken to broadcasting his project via Twitter:
[tweet https://twitter.com/Astro_Wakata/status/420272593581518848 align=’center’]
[tweet https://twitter.com/Astro_Wakata/status/420271250817040384 align=’center’]
Here’s a closer look at “Spinal Top” in zero-g:
[tweet https://twitter.com/Astro_Wakata/status/420270941625516032 align=’center’]