November 6, 2014–January 4, 2015
Exploratorium, Pier 15, Plaza


Metamorphosis, a glowing, 12-foot-long steel sculpture shrouded in fine mist, is a representation of a real comet known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This comet is the target of the Rosetta Mission, the first ever to make a soft landing on a comet and study its chemical composition. 

The sculpture, developed by David Delgado and Dan Goods of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was designed and fabricated by architect Jason Klimoski of Brooklyn-based StudioKCA. It celebrates the Rosetta Mission and aims to spark curiosity about comets and how they behave. Lit from within and emitting clouds of mist and water vapor, Metamorphosis evokes the glow and atmosphere of comets, which produce light, gas, and dust when heated by the Sun.

The display of Metamorphosis at the Exploratorium coincides with the scheduled touchdown of the European Space Agency’s Philae lander on November 12, 2014. The lander will conduct the most detailed study ever conducted of the chemical makeup of a comet.

On the evening of the sculpture’s debut, Thursday, November 6, Exploratorium Senior Scientist Isabel Hawkins will lead a live webcast detailing the race to find a landing site for the Philae lander.

Then on Thursday, November 13, the day after the lander’s scheduled touchdown, Exploratorium Senior Scientist Paul Doherty will host a live webcast with updates on the mission.

The Rosetta spacecraft arrived at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on August 6, 2014, after a 10-year journey through the solar system. Since then, the spacecraft has moved to within 30 km of the comet, allowing for close-up images and measurements of possible landing sites.

Metamorphosis was produced in collaboration with the World Science Festival in Brooklyn, and displayed at both the AxS Festival and JPL Open House in Pasadena.