Look at a Moon atlas, and you’ll see a land populated with the names of philosophers, mathematicians, and astronomers. Great men like Plato, Aristarchus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Planck, have been immortalized by naming Moon craters after them, cementing their names in the firmament. But – what about the women? Out of the 1,578 catalogued and named craters on the lunar surface, 32 are named after women – that is barely 2%. I found this percentage to be disappointingly low.
To highlight this issue, I decided to research the locations of the lunar craters named after women using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. After capturing the most detailed images of the craters possible, I created a series of 32 drawings on paper, using acrylic paint and graphite. Each drawing is a portrait of a crater, accentuating topographical features, textures, and shadowing.
A crater is essentially a void, a hollow in the regolith. The void echoes the underrepresentation of women in positions of power, in the scientific canon, and in history. The void also speaks to its opposite: each crater is a result of an impact, a shattering of the calm surface. The 32 women who made such an impact are thrown into full relief with each drawing.
Since the International Astronomical Union occasionally names newly catalogued Moon craters after women, this is an ongoing project.