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PSI’s Jamie Molaro Turns Science Into Art

Jamie Molaro's Margaret's Moon

Jamie Molaro’s “Margaret’s Moon.”

PSI Research Scientist Jamie Molaro’s interest in planetary science goes beyond professional: she is an accomplished artist. Molaro’s piece “Margaret’s Moon” is on display this week at the Michigan State University Scicomm Science Art Exhibit that can be viewed virtually at Molaro’s artwork may be viewed at 

Molaro studies how landscapes on other worlds evolve using data collected by a variety of spacecraft. Her artwork depicts celestial bodies using paper sculpture techniques, a collection she calls Paper Planets. She often uses her own research papers and data sets as the medium of the sculptures.

“I think my favorite piece will always be “The Book of Moon.” It’s a piece of paper art showing a cratered lunar landscape carved into the pages of my Ph.D. thesis and then housed in a book-shaped wooden box. The landscape itself was created using topography data from a spacecraft orbiting the Moon. The topography is sliced up into approximately 150 layers and each was cut out of one of the pages,” Molaro said. “The content of my thesis described researched that I had done studying the ways in which rocks and landforms on the Moon break down into dust over time. So I felt that carving this type of landscape into the pages was a nice juxtaposition of the artistic and scientific processes, as you can see glimpses of the thesis text and figures that shown through and color the landscape.” Margaret’s Moon, shown here, uses a similar technique and its pages are printed with lines of code from the Apollo command module written by NASA computer scientist Margaret Hamilton.

See more of Molaro’s artwork at

The MSU Scicomm Science Art Exhibit runs through Nov. 8, 2020.

jamie molaro's Margaret's moon closeup

Close up of Jamie Molaro’s “Margaret’s Moon.”


Nov. 1, 2020
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