Atmospheric Absorption Spectrum Wall Decal


This project is a large piece of wall art installed within the Radar Sciences and Engineering building at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL.) It was produced under a commission to beautify the working space with radar-themed, large-scale art. The piece is based on the earth atmospheric electromagnetic spectrum absorption plot. Different typefaces and arrangements represent each wavelength band (e.g. gamma, infrared, low frequency, etc.) Black regions represent wavelengths absorbed by Earth's atmosphere while the atmosphere is transparent to the wavelengths in white. The piece reveals interesting details about our relationship with the EM spectrum upon investigation. For example, the visible spectrum is clearly the highest energy band which is not absorbed by the atmosphere and our eyes evolved to be sensitive to this high energy light which we could detect. We hope the piece will inspire similar interesting conversations among radar scientists for years.

The final piece is a complicated, two-tone vinyl cut decal, 5.5m long by 1.03m tall. Designing the piece took approximately 20 hours, cutting and preparing it took approximately 10 hours and installing it took four people 3.5 hours. Assembling the piece requires at minimum 13m of 61cm wide black vinyl and 9m of 61cm wide white vinyl.


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