August 5, 2022

EOC Earth sculpture viewed by half a million visitors

Despite the Corona pandemic and various adversities the exhibition entitled “A Fragile Paradise” at Gasometer Oberhausen has already passed the 500,000 visitor milestone. The highlight of the exhibition – a huge Earth sculpture suspended in a 100 metre high airspace – was brought alive by EOC experts with the help of animated satellite data.

EOC Earth sculpture

“A Fragile Paradise” opened in October 2021. After “The Eye of the Sky”, “Nature‘s Wonders” and "The Call of the Mountains" it is meanwhile the fourth exhibition with EOC responsibility for the central display item. Over three million visitors in all have been so far given an opportunity to learn about the potential of earth observation.

The current exhibition is concerned with the effects of global change on Earth’s ecosystem. In addition to prize-winning photographs, 20 globes, and what is probably the “largest earth on Earth” reveal to visitors topics relating to global change and remote sensing. 

For the Earth sculpture with its 20 metre diameter, thousands of datasets from various types of satellites were united into a single image. With 72 million pixels and a 16-bit colour depth (65,536 shades of colour for each spectral band), every single image in the animation has an uncompressed size of almost half a gigabyte. With 60 images per second and a 15-minute animation length, a considerable amount of data is amassed just for the final product, to which must be added countless raw data and preliminary products Thirteen projectors bring the data onto an inflated sphere with a surface equal to two tennis courts.

Six years ago a first version of the EOC Earth sculpture was shown at the Gasometer. Since then, many visitors have wanted to know when they can again look at Earth from the perspective of an astronaut. Now until the end of the year they have such an opportunity. The panorama lift located at the inside wall of the Gasometers even brings them up to an altitude of 100 metres. The perspective of Earth from that height is equivalent to that of a distance of ca. 36,000 kilometres, providing a view otherwise available only to the Apollo astronauts and geostationary weather satellites.

The Earth sculpture has been considerably improved since the one displayed in 2016. New projection, data and animation techniques make possible a much more immersive experience, so returning visitors will also obtain their money’s worth.