MTV reveals vine-covered ‘lunar person’ at NASA rocket garden

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What happens when you plant a lunar person in a rocket garden? He grows vines.

MTV on Sunday (August 1) celebrated 40 years of broadcasting in Unveils New Look for Iconic Video Music Awards (VMA) Trophy at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The Moon Person Special Edition was designed by artist Kehinde Wiley, known for his naturalistic portraits.

Moogega Cooper, chief planetary protection engineer for NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, unveiled a life-size version of Wiley’s lunar person at Kennedy’s rocket garden – an outdoor exhibition of historic launchers – on Sundays.

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“I see a huge connection between what MTV has done in storytelling and crossing borders and what is being done in space exploration,” Cooper said in a video statement released by the visitor complex. “Because you have to translate these important messages to the world, and in order to be able to do that, you have to create a good story, a compelling story, so that everyone understands why it is relevant to them.”

Wiley wanted his Moon Person to represent inclusiveness and diversity, “as marked by the historical, environmental and natural relevance of plants,” MTV said in a statement. Rolling Stone magazine statement. The design features botanical vines that flow seamlessly up and around the figure’s legs, body, and arms as a commentary on the ethnic stories that surround America. Each intertwined vine or leaf has historical relevance. different, like the seeds of African slaves, which are woven into American tapestry. “

Moogega Cooper, NASA’s chief planetary protection engineer for the Mars 2020 mission, poses with a life-size version of MTV’s “Moon Person” at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. (Image credit: Gerardo Mora / Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex)

The message behind Wiley’s work also resonates in the space program, Cooper said. NASA’s Artemis program works to bring astronauts back to the moon, including landing the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface.

“It’s so important to be represented in everything you do,” she said. “In the space world, we would like to be represented among other scientists and engineers, because all of these perspectives are what make us who we are, they are the fabric of who we are.”

The connection between MTV and NASA dates back to the very earliest moments of the on-air channel. At 12:01 a.m. on August 1, 1981, MTV launched with footage of the first NASA space shuttle launch four months earlier and the Apollo 11 mission, which landed the first astronauts on the moon in 1969. The imagery of astronauts saluting and facing the flag was altered to replace stars and stripes with the logo of the new music television network as a voiceover delivered its new mission, “Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll” .

This opening inspired the original VMA Moon Man Trophy introduced in 1984. MTV officially changed “Moon Man” to “Moon Person” in 2017 to represent all genres as part of its commitment to inclusion.

Wiley, who is perhaps best known as the first black American to paint an official portrait of a US president, Barack Obama, is the third person to be asked to reinvent the VMA Trophy. Multimedia artist KAWS and fashion designer Jeremy Scott already took their own chrome astronaut tour in 2013 and 2015, respectively.

Wiley’s Moon Person Trophies will be presented at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards on August 12 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

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