The Art of Science: Comet-Chasing Shoes

Meterorite Shoes by Studio SWINE, 2014 Photo: Petr Krejci
Meterorite Shoes by Studio SWINE, 2014 Photo: Petr Krejci

New York based design team Studio SWINE (led by architect Azusa Murakami and artist Alexander Groves) were so inspired by the landing of the Philae probe on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko that they wanted to celebrate it by making shoes. Shoes that look like meteorites fallen from space, of course.

They decided to use aluminum foam, which they note is generally “hidden inside high-end cars and buildings as sound insulation,” not made into footwear. Aluminum foam is just what it sounds like – aluminum that’s been melted down and then injected with a gas to produce a matrix of bubbles or cells.

Murakami and Groves visited the American Museum of Natural History to study the meteorite collection and gather images to make 3D scans of space rocks. They adapted the scans to make a shape that would fit on a foot and then used more traditional milling and shoemaking techniques to create a pair of strong, lightweight high-heeled pumps.

The finished Meteorite Shoes might not be quite the thing for everyday wear, but they are undoubtedly out of this world.

What the Philae are you doing here?

UPDATE 12 NOV 2014 11:10AM (ET): Apollo 11 shit went down today. No matter what else we might be, we are a species that landed a robot on a comet about 500 million kilometers away for the purpose of scientific exploration. Not too shabby.

UPDATE 12 NOV 2014 11:54AM (ET): There is concern that Philae has not anchored to the comet properly. They are working on it.

Look, we appreciate you stopping by; but humanity is trying to land a robot on a comet for the first time ever. There is Apollo 11 level shit going down today. You can watch the ESA’s webcast live with us. The Philae lander is scheduled to touch down at about 11:00 AM (US Eastern).

xkcd by Randall Munroe (CC BY-NC 2.5)
xkcd by Randall Munroe (CC BY-NC 2.5)

Over at xkcd, Randall Munroe is doing live updates of the Philae lander’s progress (and its internal monologue).

HT: Emily Lakdawalla (whom you should be reading today)

Philae: The Power of Positive Thinking?

UPDATE 12 NOV 2014 11:12AM (EST): THEY DID IT!

Philae by Stefan Schindler (All Rights Reserved; Used with Permission)
Philae by Stefan Schindler (All Rights Reserved; Used with Permission)

Tomorrow, the Philae lander detaches from the ESA Rosetta spacecraft and attempts to touch down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at Site J. A successful landing will be one of the great feats of human scientific exploration.

A webcast of the landing attempt will begin at 2PM (ET) today (ie, now).

Instead of waiting to post pictures, we are going to be optimistic and start with this LEGO build from Stefan Schindler showing the Philae lander resting comfortably on the comet’s surface. More to come…