Laika Lithophane

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On November 3, 1957, just 30 days after the first ever man-made object entered into earth orbit, the Soviet Union launched a second "artificial moon." Born aloft by a proto-Vostok launch vehicle to an altitude of 934 miles, Sputnik II was not only substantially larger than its predecessor, but also differed in so far as it included a living being. This first earth-born creature to leave the earth was, of course, the famed Laika (barker), whose flight commanded the attention of the entire world.

This porcelain night light commemorates that historic launch, and was designed and produced exclusively for the Museum of Jurassic Technology.

Hand made in Irvine, CA using techniques from a lost art of the 1800’s called “Lithophanes.” Light shining through the varied thicknesses of thin porcelain causes an image to appear in the lit porcelain. Crafted by first carving the image in wax while illuminated from behind, then making a plaster mold of the carving, and finally casting it in fine porcelain and firing it at a high temperature for 12 hours to give the porcelain its translucency.