Publication Date



Honorable Mention

Class Year



Urban Studies


Joyce Hsiang


At the dawn of the space race, neither the moon as a destination nor man’s physical presence there were foregone conclusions. In order to get to that all important "first step," NASA had to dissect the Moon as a romantic symbol into concrete ground that space boots could tread on. Identifying these sites on a terrain so uniquely hostile to human habitation required remote exploration mediated by totally encapsulating technology. However, in the attempts of scientists and engineers to objectively explore the lunar wilderness, they unintentionally transformed it into an extension of the urban landscape. Once only conceivable as a celestial body, the Moon is now a set of discreet sites with distinct cultural ramifications. This work positions the Apollo Moon Shot as a radical placemaking exercise, simultaneously interrogating the process of place creation and proposing novel readings of the material culture discarded on the Moon today. Half a century later, the reader takes the position of a new lunar surveyor, sifting through the fossils of a long-extinct wild Moon.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access