Giant 'Earth' artwork shines a light on our environment

4 November 2018

A huge Earth will glow alongside Hope the whale in the Natural History Museum this month, at a public 'Lates' event delivered in partnership with NERC.

3D artwork of the Earth

The 7-metre diameter artwork, titled simply 'Earth' and commissioned in partnership with NERC, Bluedot Festival and the UK Association for Science & Discovery Centres, is the creation of Bristol-based artist Luke Jerram. It follows the hugely successful UK tour of his giant moon artwork at events and festivals around the world.

Earth will be displayed to the public in the Natural History Museum's Hintze Hall next to a huge skeleton of an ancient whale from 6pm on Friday 30 November at an event exploring our relationship with our environment, titled Your Planet Needs You. The illuminated surface of Earth is created using detailed NASA images of our planet taken from space and its awe-inspiring presence will be accompanied by the sounds of BAFTA award-winning composer Dan Jones.

Artist Luke Jerram said:

I wanted to attempt to give the public the opportunity to see the Earth as a sphere, floating in the darkness of space. I hope to convey the fragility and beauty of our planet - our only home. It's a great pleasure to be working with NERC to help realise this project.

Subtitles (closed captions) are available once the video is playing.

Your Planet Needs You is one of the Natural History Museum's monthly Lates events, which provide a chance for adults to explore the museum after hours, with food and bar drinks. It will include interactive activities and talks from some of the UK's top NERC-funded environmental scientists. Several of whom are shortlisted for a prestigious NERC Impact Award for their research ranging from protecting biodiversity in the face of worldwide deforestation for agriculture, including for palm oil, to the science behind a never-seen-before satellite to monitor climate change from space, and uncovering the impacts of microplastics on the world's oceans.

London-based interactive theatre makers, Coney, will challenge visitors to grapple with some of the barriers to engaging with environmental issues such as climate change, through creative games and interactive experiences.

NERC's Associate Director of Communications & Engagement Julia Maddock said:

Art has the power to speak to the heart and mind. We hope Luke's Earth will inspire audiences to meet the challenges we face on our planet, helping us to work together to deliver solutions.

NERC is the biggest funder of environmental science in the UK, and our work doesn't stop there: we are passionate about bringing environmental science beyond the academic community to everyone, as it affects all of our lives every day, whether that's understanding how to talk about climate change or playing a part in preventing the devastating impacts of marine plastics.

Your Planet Needs You is a unique opportunity to meet with the scientists confronting today's biggest environmental issues and to engage with ways to tackle these important questions in a fun way. Ultimately, this evening aims to convey a message of hope, united we are making a difference.

Head of Exhibitions, Learning & Outreach at the Natural History Museum Dr Alex Burch said:

We are thrilled to be hosting Luke Jerram's Earth as part of our Your Planet Needs You Lates evening in collaboration with NERC. We hope the thought-provoking installation and programme of activities throughout the evening will inspire visitors to engage in crucially important environmental science, reflect on our planet's future, and to participate in debates about how we can address these together. Only by building our understanding of the natural world will we find a way to protect it for the future.

Key facts

  • 'Lates' at the Natural History Museum (NHM) are a chance for adults to explore the museum after hours, with food and bar drinks.
  • NERC has worked in partnership with the NHM to deliver this unique Lates event, Your Planet Needs You.
  • The event will take place at the NHM on 30 November from 6pm to 10pm and is open to all and free to enter.
  • Luke Jerram's artwork, Earth, was commissioned in partnership with NERC, Bluedot Festival and the UK Association for Science & Discovery Centres, and will be on display at the Lates event alongside Hope the whale in the Hintze Hall.
  • The NERC Impact Award winners will be announced on 3 December during a private ceremony at the Natural History Museum.

Further information

Ione Bingley
Press and Communications Officer
01793 411616


1. NERC is the UK's main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. Our work covers the full range of atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic science, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere and from the poles to the equator. We coordinate some of the world's most exciting research projects, tackling major issues such as climate change, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on Earth, and much more. NERC is part of UK Research & Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

2. The Natural History Museum exists to inspire a love of the natural world and unlock answers to the big issues facing humanity and the planet. It is a world-leading science research centre, and through its unique collection and unrivalled expertise it is tackling issues such as food security, eradicating diseases and managing resource scarcity. The Natural History Museum is the most visited natural history museum in Europe and the top science attraction in the UK; they welcome more than 4·5 million visitors each year and their website receives over 500,000 unique visitors a month. People come from around the world to enjoy their galleries and events and engage both in-person and online with their science and educational activities through innovative programmes and citizen science projects.

3. Luke Jerram's multidisciplinary practice involves the creation of sculptures, installations and live arts projects. Living in the UK but working internationally for more than 20 years, Jerram has created a number of extraordinary art projects which have excited and inspired people around the globe.

One of Luke's newest arts projects, 'Museum of the Moon', has caught the public's imagination and is currently touring the world. Experienced by more than 2·5 million people worldwide, the artwork has recently toured India with the British Council, been presented at the Commonwealth Games in Australia and been exhibited in Aarhus, Denmark for the European Capital of Culture.