Building An Artificial Moon For Burning Man


If you were lucky enough to score passes to this year’s Burning Man, be sure to keep a look out for [Laurence Symonds] and crew, who are putting together an ambitious fixture for the event. In reality, we’re guessing you won’t have to look far to find their giant moon replica floating overhead – in fact it will probably be pretty hard to miss.

They are calling the sculpture “Lune and Tide”, which of an 8 meter wide internally lit moon which hovers over a spinning platform that’s just as big across. The inflatable sphere is made up of giant ripstop nylon panels which are home to 36,000-odd sewn-in LEDs. The LEDs illuminate the sphere to reflect the natural color of the moon, though with a simple command, [Laurence] and Co. can alter the lighting to their heart’s content.

If Hack a Day’s [Jesse Congdon] makes his way out to the festival again this year, we’ll be sure he gets some footage of Lune and Tide in action. For now, you’ll have to satisfy your curiosity by checking out the project’s build log.

15 thoughts on “Building An Artificial Moon For Burning Man

  1. One of the more subtle weird things I saw on the playa was small lights hung from balloons that at night looked like a constellation that was not observing the same set of rules as the rest of the stars when you moved about. The whole event is disorenting enough and if you are trying to use dead reckoning to get back to your camp with out walking in circles, it’s a bit confusing. No, I was not on anything at the time.

  2. “If you were lucky enough to score passes to this year’s Burning Man”

    Wait, you have to get passes to go into the middle of the desert? I always kinds figured if you were willing (read:crazy enough) to go they would welcome you.

    1. To quote from the Burning Man FAQ:

      “Q. Does the event sell out, or have a limit in size?

      A. The event sold out in 2011 and 2012 because we reached the population cap stipulated by our event permit from the Bureau of Land Management, and we expect that will be the case in future years. Up to date information is available on the Jack Rabbit Speaks newsletter.”

      …so yes, it appears that (a) you do need a ticket to ride, and (b) there is a limit to the number of tickets available. It’s a life-changing event: once you experience it your perspective is altered forever. Of course, some people insist on being spectators, and so miss out on the experience even while in the midst of it…

      The Burning Man FAQ can be found at . Enjoy!

  3. I”d like to attend burning man someday, but that isn’t likely to happen. I’m sure there are a lot of things that would be great to see along with, I didn’t need to see that moments. To really be impressive the balloon probably has to be tethered at decent height where the wind will play hell with it. Reeling it in closer to the ground when the wind really kicks up may not offer much more protection. Hope the event works well for them.

  4. omg, omg, Thank You for doing this. When you get back from the event let me know I want to hire you if you are not already making a few hundred k a year I have a way to make that happen…..

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