My Artwork

I make are paper art using topography data and images from spacecraft. The data is processed into layers and cut out of paper to create 3D sculptures of planetary surfaces across the solar system. There's a photo gallery here, and individual pieces I have created are described below. I do take commissions on most of these pieces (each is made to order), as well as for custom pieces with specific topography or surfaces of interest. Prices are based on the amount of time each piece takes to produce. Email jmolaro@jpl.nasa.gov to inquire.


The Book of Moon

This book is a copy of my PhD thesis. My research focused on the weathering rocks on the Moon due to the daily heating and cooling of its surface. Each day, thermal stresses form that can, over time, break down rocks into dust. Carved into the book is a cratered landscape created from topography data from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft, a landscape continuously modified by this weathering process. [The wooden box in this piece was handcrafted by Ricki Weaver, from RickisWoodWorks on Etsy.] This piece won the People's Choice Award at the 2015 Art of Planetary Science exhibition in Tucson, AZ.







































Chasma Boreale

This piece was creating using topography data of the north polar layered deposits of Mars from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter aboard the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. The deep canyon Chasma Boreale is featured in the bottom left. The layers, formed by seasonal melting and deposition of ice, contain a record of Mars' climate history made visible by the dust trapped within each layer. This is piece was originally created as a gift for the my PhD advisor, Dr. Shane Byrne. It won 1st Place in the Data Art category at the 2017 Art of Planetary Science exhibition in Tucson, AZ, and was displayed at the University of Arizona Museum of Art.






















Ceres

This piece was creating using a digital elevation model produced by the Dawn mission from stereo images. Central to the figure is Kerwan impact crater on Ceres, an icy dwarf planet in the asteroid belt. The printed text is taken from research publications on Ceres and small body science authored by Dr. Andy Rivkin. This piece was originally created as a gift for Dr. Rivkin, who has been a valuable friend and mentor to me.








































Rings

This piece was created using an image of Saturn's rings from the Cassini spacecraft. While no topography data is available for the rings, the image was processed into layers by brightness. This piece was originally created as a gift for Dr. Joe Spitale, who has been a valuable friend and mentor to me.










































Craters of the Moon

(I'm currently missing a photo of this piece. It looks similar to Ceres, but with the topography from The Book of the Moon. Any interested buyer can be shown photos prior to purchase.)

This piece was created from topography data from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft (same topography as above, in The Book of Moon). Shown is a cratered landscape near the Moon's north pole, centering on Barnard crater. The printed text is code from the Apollo command module, from the daring missions that inspired a generation of science enthusiasts and spawned the birth of the field of planetary science.