3D Crystal Sculptures
The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, in partnership with Seaena, has created a line of high quality crystal sculptures reflective of the wonderful subject matter of the Center's programs
and exhibitions—which address human exploration of Earth and space. Each sculpture is stunning 3D art fully contained inside solid crystal block, and created by laser at state-of-the-art resolution (see below).
Crystal Line 1, launched in November 2009, replicates the art
contained in the Voyage Scale Model Solar System exhibitions in front of the Smithsonian on the National Mall in Washington, DC, in Kansas City, Missouri, Corpus Christi, Texas, and Space Center Houston at NASA Johnson Space Center—the planets, dwarf planets, and moons portrayed at one 10-billionth
actual size; and five dioramas that portray how we humans explore the nature
of the greater universe.
Crystal Line 2, celebrates America's Space Shuttle Program. This crystal line was commissioned for the Center's Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP), which saw 27 grade 5-12 student microgravity experiments fly on the final flights of Shuttles Endeavour (STS-134) and Atlantis (STS-135), and which were selected from 1,027 proposals submitted by student teams. SSEP is now an ongoing program on the International Space Station.
Read the stories behind the two Crystal Lines. They're sure to both fascinate .... and educate (which is what we're about!)
Crystal Line 1: Voyage National Program Crystal
New in 2010 Crystal Line 2: U.S. Space Shuttle Program
How the Art is Created
The art is created using a computer-controlled laser that can be finely focused at a single point in space inside the solid crystal block. At the point of focus the energy density is great enough to cause a microscopic fracture—which serves as a pixel (a picture element). High resolution 3D structures that are fully contained in the crystal are created pixel by pixel by 'burning' one horizontal sheet of pixels at the bottom of the crystal block, and then 'burning' successive sheets one on top of the other.
The crystal sculptures are manufactured by Seaena, the fabricator for the crystal contained in the Voyage Scale Model Solar System exhibition.