NASA beams Mona to the Moon

As if she wasn't famous enough Mona Lisa is now the first "woman" to be to the moon and back! Scientists broke the image of the Mona Lisa into 200 x 152 pixel groups that had each individual pixel "converted into a shade of gray, represented by a number between zero and 4,095" then in a way similar to Morse code the laser communicated how bring each pixel should be. After being constructed together with filters to account for atmospheric distortion - the image was then sent back.

Using lasers to communicate is definitely futuristic - almost as futuristic as the Mona Lisa herself. It's both interesting and ironic to use the Mona Lisa as the first test image. One, she is the most famous face and work of art in the world. Second - the image they sent was only black and white and not high definition.

This is similar to what they sent. Each square would be a single pixel of a different brightness. When they are put together in order - it would show a black and white pix-elated version.

You can see in this image I made how an image can be coded and then de-coded and how each can contains more or less information. Each is a representation of the same image - the Mona Lisa - but each is encoded with more and more details. What they laser-ed to the moon was more on par with the lower two images while the Mona Lisa herself is more on par with a super high definition film. So if you imagine that the image they sent has 1000ish total pixels for the entire image the real life Mona Lisa is built up of MILLIONS of pixels. She isn't only more highly detailed than 1080p displays - she is also multidimensional - meaning that she has length and width AND depth. She isn't just a single layer of paint but has thousands of layers if not hundreds of thousands. This means that every image that is taken of the painting is only showing a certain amount of the actual image - how far light can penetrate into the painting and reflect back to the camera. Since she has multiple layers that can't be penetrated or seen - most of the Mona Lisa is still hidden from view.

Why and how Leonardo was able to accomplish this is still a mystery, but there would obviously be a good reason for the greatest genius of all time to spend almost 20 years painting over the same painting, sometimes with clear layers...

More about the Mona Lisa and Leonardo on my site here

Also check out our DaVinci Tumblr and Instagram pages for tons of quotes and images by Leo!


Previous posts about Mona and the Moon:

It's also ironic that it's been speculated that the Moon itself could have influenced the face of Mona Lisa herself. 

"Make glasses to see the Moon Large" - Leonardo da Vinci
(Quote by Leonardo 100 years before Galileo Galile and Hans Lipperhey used and "invented" the telescope.)

"The first anyone has achieved one-way laser communication at planetary distances"

NASA Sends Mona Lisa to the Moon on a Laser Ride
PC Magazine
The U.S. space agency's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) scientists this week beamed an image of the Mona Lisa from Earth to the Moon-orbiting spacecraft's Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) instrument, NASA said Thursday.
NASA Uses Lasers To Send The Mona Lisa To The Moon
NASA already uses lasers to keep track of the LRO's location, and were able to piggyback the Mona Lisa on top of the same tracking communication. This marks the longest one-way communication via laser, as the light made its way across the 240,000 miles
'Mona Lisa' image goes to moon and back, in successful NASA experiment
(CNN) -- The "Mona Lisa" has been to the moon and back -- or at least a digital image of her. The famous face was used in an experiment and carried in a laser beam to a man-made satellite orbiting the moon, NASA said Thursday. 
Mona Lisa Sent to the Moon
ABC News (blog)
Engineers at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland successfully beamed an image of the Mona Lisa from the earth to NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, a spacecraft that has been orbiting the moon since 2009.
Moon-Orbiting Satellite Thinks the Mona Lisa Beamed by NASA Lasers Is Trite ...
Vanity Fair
Sounds fine—but did anyone ask the moon-orbiting satellite if it even liked the Mona Lisa? Frankly the moon-orbiting satellite, known as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, does not care for the Italian classicists. 

“8-bit Mona Lisa - oil on canvas. Part of Schaefer’s Master Copies series”

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