SpaceX Rocket Carrying Jeff Koons’s 125 Moon Sculptures Finally TakesOff

These space balls are finally going to the moon.

After many delays, Jeff Koons‘s 125 sculptures were finally sent to the moon early this morning from Cape Canaveral at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The initiative, known as “The Moon Phases Project,” was first announced in 2022 and is centered around a collection of NFTs. The original plan was for the physical works to land on the moon in July that year, with NFTs available through Pace Verso, Pace Gallery’s NFT platform.

After many fits and starts, Koons’s“Moons” sculptures were finally scheduled to launch onboard a Falcon 9 rocket in a lunar lander on February 14.

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NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 24:  Artist Jeff Koons poses for a portrait for the media in front of his work "Moon (Light Pink)" during a media preview of his retrospective at The Whitney Museum of American Art on June 24, 2014 in New York City.  Nearly the entire museum will be filled with four decades of Koons' work; it opens to the public June 27th.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

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“The lander will be carrying Koons’s 125 one-inch miniatureMoonssculptures,each representinga phase of the Moon and each associated with peoplefrom various fields and time periods who have made a significant impact to human life on Earth,such as Mozart, Galileo, Cleopatra, andLeonardo da Vinci, to name a few,” according to a project statement. “ThoseMoonswillbe the very first authorised artworks placedon the Moon.”

However, the launch was delayed after scientists noticed an issue with the rocket’s methane propellant, according to a report in the New York Times.

The Falcon 9 rocket is made by SpaceX, a company founded by Elon Musk in 2002. The physical sculptures were onboard the rocket in a lunar lander known as Nova C (Odysseus). The lander was developed by Intuitive Machines, a private American aerospace company, and is designed to separate from the Falcon 9 rocket after takeoff.

On February 13, Koons posted about the launch on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), including images of the lunar lander and his moon sculptures being placed into the Falcon 9 rocket.

If everything goes as planned, the lunar lander holding Koons’s artwork and NASA equipment will reach the moon in nine days.

“I grew up listening to President Kennedy speak about going to the moon,” Koons told the New York Times before the rocket’s takeoff. “It gave our society a vision and drive that we could believe in ourselves and accomplish things.”

The two other components of the Moon Phases Project—the corresponding NFTs showing the installation of the lunar landing, and a larger version of each moon sculpture encased in glass named after historical figures—will remain available for collectors on Planet Earth.

A silver refletive orb in a clear cube is labeled
Jeff Koons’s project Moon Phases includes, from left, a clear cube containing miniature moons, a larger single moon encased in glass, and a photographic cube representing phases of the moon. ©Jeff Koons

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